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#SayNoToSocialMediaBill: Senate panel to begin public hearing on Social Media Bill next week

The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

Following public outcry on the proposed Social Media Regulation Bill, the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on Friday said it would fix a date for public hearing on the bill next week.

The bill which has been repeatedly condemned by most Nigerians (including former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the Nigerian Bar Association, Femi Falana, Prof. Wole Soyinka and others) passed second reading in the Senate few days ago. There’s currently a social media campaign against the bill tagged #SayNoToSocialMediaBill.

Punch reports that Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, the Chairman of the Senate Committee, promised to give notice to all relevant stakeholders ahead of the hearing of the bill because of the ongoing campaign.

“Our committee would meet next week and fix a date for the public hearing,” the senator said (as seen on Punch)

“Because of the interest that the bill has generated by the public, it would be better that we give all stakeholders sufficient notice.

“We want an adequate representation of all stakeholders, particularly from the civil society.

Senator Sani Musa, the lawmaker representing Niger East Senatorial District, during an interview on TV gave reason why the bill should be allowed. According to him the recent rumour that President Muhammadu Buhari was taking another wife which went viral on social media was a good reason for the bill to be made law.

Senator Chimaroke Nnamani of Enugu State had spoken against the bill during the debate on the floor of the senate. Also, Senator Bala Na’Allah drew the attention of the senate to the conflict the bill might have with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

However, Senate Elisha Abbo, who was recently arraigned for assaulting a woman in an adult toy shop in Abuja after a video clip of the incident went viral, supported the bill.

Despite the criticism and condemnation from the few senators and almost all Nigerians, most senators voted in support of the bill.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan referred the bill to the judiciary and human rights panel for further legislative action.

The panel is expected to collect the views of all stakeholders and submit a report after the public hearing.

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