Social Media Bill: Buhari differs with Senate, restates commitment to free speech.



IN what looked like a major public disagreement with the Senate over the controversial Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Bill, (also known as Social Media Bill) before the Senate, President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday reiterated the commitment of his administration to the protection of free speech in keeping with democratic tradition.

The President’s reaction, which was contained in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu came against the background of the public hostility towards the bill now being debated by the Senate.

Shehu noted that the President had sworn to defend the constitution of Nigeria and would not lend his hand to anything that is inconsistent with the constitution, but added that Buhari was not averse to lawful regulation, so long as that is done within the ambit of the constitution which he swore to uphold.

He added, “The President said free speech is central to democratic societies anywhere in the world. The President explained that without free speech, elected representatives won’t be able to gauge public feelings and moods about governance issues.

“As a key component of democratic principles,” the President acknowledged that people in democratic societies “are so emotionally attached to free speech that they would defend it with all their might.”

Shehu explained that Buhari was fully aware of the public reservations about the proposed legislation but assured that there is no cause for alarm, “because the Senate is a democratic senate. The President won’t assent to any legislation that may be inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”

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  • amador kester

    In a choice between free speech and the senate the people will prefer free speech.

  • GraduatesNG

    When the whole world is embracing technology, an ‘illiterate’ man is here proposing killing it. Is this the result of the so called seminar on Facebook given to you old analog Senators some weeks ago?

    Is Social Media a problem to his constituency or his state? Is SM what drives backwardness in his domain? Is SM the cause of youth unemployment or child marriage in his domain? Is SM the cause of desertification in his domain? Is SM the cause of high mortality rate in his domain?

    Instead of him to see to bills that will move things forward he is driving it backwards. Does he even know what SM means? And how does he intend to monitor it all? Even Whatsapp is going inside our constitution?

    Haba Nabba – You are the “Father of Ignorance”, totally analog in your ways and reasoning. I see you are suffering from DDS (digital deficiency syndrome) – does your bill cover a statement like this?

    I bet it doesn’t. So get it back and rework it to include whatever you think will cover this sort of statement because that is your aim.

  • Kokoman

    These people have always been afraid of social media because their greatest opponents are in the diaspora making their thieving nature bare to the world. If they mossle the social media, they control the newspapers at home, they can have a free ride thieving. Goodluck to democracy.

  • raygold

    Sai Baba