Social media in Nigeria has always been known to give ordinary citizens a platform to voice their grievances and express how they feel without being trampled on.
This is evident as Nigerians ranks highest in numbers of internet users in Africa with over 100 million active users in 2018.
The freedom to do business online, relate with friends and family, and engage in social and political discussions on the internet gave voices to the voiceless along with the hope that they can still effect change the little way possible.
This hope would soon be short lived when the Nigeria senate on Tuesday, November 5, reintroduced a bill that will regulate and limit the use of social media in the country. The bill named “protection from internet falsehood and manipulation bill 2019” was sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, a senator representing Niger east senatorial district who insisted that the bill was aimed at restraining fake news and the spreading of falsehood on the internet.
The reintroduction of the bill was met with contentious feedbacks and have had citizen taking various opposing stands against it.
Major celebrities in the countries has voiced their concerns in support of the citizens declaring that “free speech should never be impeded on”.
Banky wellington (banky w), Waje, MI Abaga, amongst other has given a note of advice to the government through their various platforms strongly opposing the bill and calling on the government to not provoke the citizens in a dire situation which seems like the last straw that might break the camel’s back.
The people are rising and calling for a petition to scrap this bill which they believe to be redundant and only aim to stifle free speech in a country that is seemingly set up to war with its young people.
bloods are boiling online and offline, petitions are being signed, and citizens has been put to work to personally engage their representatives from various senatorial districts after a comprehensive lists of each senator’s phone and email addresses popped up online yesterday.
This yielded results as screenshots of messages to senators and their responses has been gracing the internet for people to read.
A particular senator Elisha Abbo, who is in support of the bill vehemently re echoed his support for the bill after an email was sent to him by a concerned nigerian to consider dropping his support for the bill.
The youngest serving senator who was caught on a video that went viral online couple of months ago physically abusing a young lady at a sex toy shop has affirmed that there is no going back on the bill which seem to further confirm the citizen’s fear that this bill is a way of preventing the citizens from curbing the government official’s excesses.
We can only hope that a concluding agreement is reached between the government and the people to avoid further escalation of a very fragile situation