PDP Senate caucus opposes hate speech bill

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the Senate said it is against the social media bill proposed to regulate opinions and information shared online.

Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe made this known this while reacting to concerns on the bill raised by members of a civil society organisation, the Leadership and Accountability Initiative, who visited him at the National Assembly.

Abaribe said the PDP senators would oppose the bill if it threatened the fundamental rights of Nigerians guaranteed in Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

According to him: “There is no speed with which this Bill is being passed. The first reading of a Bill is automatic. We can’t make a comment on what is still on the first stage.

“What I can assure you is that this Senate can’t be a party to removing the rights of Nigerians under any guise. Section 39 of the Constitution talks about our freedom as citizens. The 9th Senate will not abridge your rights.

“I don’t think Nigerians who fought and paid the supreme price to entrench this democracy will easily give it away and make us go back to the dark days.

“Rest assured that when we get to that point, we will stand for the people. Every Bill that passes here must pass through the rigours to ensure that it protects the rights of over 200 million Nigerians.

“We have a plethora of laws that can be used to drive the question of driving a free society. While social media can be good, it can also be bad. I am a victim of social media.

“As much as there is freedom, yours stops where another person’s own starts. We urge Nigerians not to propagate falsehood or fake news. Our job is to guarantee the freedoms and rights of both sides.”

 

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