The House of Representatives has opposed the Frivolous Petitions Bill (Social Media bill) introduced on the floor of the senate last week.
The bill, entitled, “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith,” proposes a two-year jail term or a N2 million fine or both for anybody that posts or broadcasts false, abusive statements on social media.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah who has said that there would be no going back on the bill.
But House of Reps spokesman, Abdulrazak Namdas, flayed the bill following last Tuesday’s meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and members of the House.
His words: “As Chairman, House Committee on Media, I must say that we cannot close space for free speech.
“We came on the platter of change and it was this social media that brought us to power and we are making effective changes on that. I think we should live with that”.
NAN quoted him further as saying: “We would like to ensure that there is free speech. And the only thing we try to enjoin is that journalists, who are trained, who know the ethics of journalism, should also join the social media activity so that we can differentiate between the grains and the chaff.
“I think that is most essential, but we should not leave it for just those who think they can just post anything. Ideally, I think it is very important that we allow free speech. With time we will get to the level that we can regulate. For now I think Nigerians will rely on them”.