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Online Publishers Says Saraki-led Senate Threat To Nigeria’s Democracy



Online Publishers Association of Nigeria (OPAN), has condemned the Social Media Bill being proposed by the senate.

The bill, titled “Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith,” seeks to gag online media by imposing a two -year jail term for abusive statement.

The association, in a statement issued on Monday by Olufemi Awoyemi, titled “A Public statement on the “frivolous petitions bill” A public statement denouncing the “frivolous petitions bill” said,

“We, the entire board and members of the Online Publishers Association condemn in the strongest terms, the motivation, process and purpose of the “Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith” which passed its 2nd reading at the senate in a record eight days; and is now set for a public hearing subsequent to its being referred by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki; to the committees on Information Communication Technology (ICT).

“We align with the Nigerian public in describing this action by the senate as pure idleness and an abandonment of the electoral mandate to focus on laws for good governance to deliver increased welfare for the people. The senate is seeking instead to restrict the scope of human freedoms, growth of new platforms of social interaction and public accountability.”

“Having engaged and consulted widely with stakeholders in the country, including members of the National Assembly and the ruling government; we offer our support to the “Public March” being organised by ‘The Freedom of Information Coalition in Nigeria; on the National Assembly and across the nation on Tuesday (today)amongst the many other lawful steps to be taken individually and severally to not only stop this unjust law, but to hold the lawmakers more accountable.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, Mr David Kayo, is considering the urgent appeal against the repressive social media bill known as ‘A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith’, rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), has confirmed.
In a statement on Monday by SERAP executive director, Adetokunbo Mumuni, the organisation said that, “SERAP can confirm that the office of the Special Rapporteur is now considering our petition.

We have received communication from Marcelo Daher, at the office of the Special Rapporteur to this effect. The Special Rapporteur has also requested a copy of the bill, which SERAP has promptly sent to Marcelo Daher.

“SERAP appreciates the prompt attention to this matter by the office of the Special Rapporteur.

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