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“We’ll sue the Northern Governors” – SERAP threatens, over moves by Nigerian government to ban social media

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project has threatened to sue the National Assembly and the Northern Governors’ Forum if any social media bill is passed and signed by the President Muhammadu Buhari.

SERAP said this in a tweet on Tuesday while reacting to a proposal by the northern governors for more social media regulations in the wake of the #EndSARS protests.

The tweet read monitored by NewsWireNGR reads, “We’ll sue the Northern Governors’ Forum and the National Assembly if any social media bill is passed and signed by President Buhari. Nigerians have a right to freedom of expression online. We won’t accept any illegal attempts to interfere with that right #NoToSocialMediaBill.”

Northern leaders, comprising governors, traditional rulers and senior political appointees from the region, yesterday backed the campaign by the federal government to regulate social media.

They also reaffirmed their commitment to the indivisibility, indissolubility and oneness of Nigeria, while alleging that those pushing for superlative agitations and other change-regime actions outside the ballot box hijacked the peaceful #EndSARS protests to further their separatist agenda.

The Northern leaders also called for strict watch on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to guide against unwarranted and destructive protests as well as to safeguard critical national assets.

These were some of the resolutions reached at a meeting the Northern States Governors’ Forum (NSGF) held with traditional rulers, some federal government officials, including the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Mohammed Adamu, and leaders of the National Assembly in Kaduna.

NewsWireNGR learns that a bill that was laid to rest during the 8th assembly is currently being considered again after the protest. 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.

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