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Senator Ibn Na’Alla says he has been vindicated for pushing for social media regulation in Nigeria after #Endsars protest

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Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah from the ruling All People’s Congress party (APC), has said that the outcome of ENDSARS protest shows he was right to have pushed for the ban of social media in 2015, during the 8th assembly.

Thousands of Nigerians used social media to organize marches across cities to demand an end to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, or SARS, a police unit accused of extrajudicial killings and abuses.

NewsWireNGR recalls that, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah of the APC had pushed for a bill to regulate social media in Nigeria in December 2015.

During an appearance on Channels Television flagship program, Politics Today, Sunday, Bala Na’Allah said,”..those who have lost their parents; who have lost their properties as a result of the use of social media have now started to realize that it was in order to save their future that we intended to do what we wanted to do at that time”.

Senator Ibn Na’Alla however added that, it is going to be a bit difficult now to push for the regulation, “once people get used to something, and you want to take it away from them, it becomes more difficult”.

The two time lawmaker said, “it is easier when they have not gotten deep into it and you try to say, you can do this, you can’t do that and there are consequences for doing this and that, at that stage you would have reduced the zest to get to where we are now”.

The hashtag, #NoToSocialMediaBill had trended when young people took to Twitter in 2015 oppose the proposed law, which had passed a second reading at the Senate.

He said government needs to focus on making young people understand they have the most stake in the building of Nigeria and “they (young people) cannot help to commutatively come together and destroy themselves by themselves”.

Bala Na’Allah is a Nigerian politician at the Senate level. Bala Na’Allah currently serves as the Senator representing Kebbi South district in the 9th National Assembly but the bill was laid to rest in 2016 but following the Endsars protest, it is being revisited by the Nigerian Government.

The then draft bill to “Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith,” proposed by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah from the ruling All People’s Congress party (APC), makes it illegal to start any type of petition without swearing an affidavit that the content is true in a court of law.

Its proposals include up to two years in prison, or a fine of $10,000, or both, for anyone posting an “abusive statement” via text message, Twitter, WhatsApp, or any other form of social media. It also creates offences with varying penalties for false publications by print, radio and TV outlets.

In recent years, growing numbers of young people have used platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to rally around issues and express their concerns about the state of the country – from #OccupyNigeria, to #BringBackOurGirls campaign and now #Endsars.

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