Popular activist, Henry Shield on Wednesday, November 13, on the floor of the Senate presented his opposition to a bill seeking to criminalize activities on the social media sphere.
The National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Estb., etc) Bill 2019 by the Senate; prescribes death by hanging for anyone found guilty of any form of hate speech; that results in the death of another person.
It was sponsored by the Deputy Senate Whip, Sabi Abdullahi; and was read on Tuesday for the first time at the senate.
It also sought the establishment of an ‘Independent National Commission for Hate Speeches’; which shall enforce hate speech laws across the country. This is to ensure the elimination of the menace and advise the federal government.
This is on the wake of comments attributed to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, that the online media space in Nigeria will soon be regulated.
“I don’t think that government regulation is necessarily the way to go; but I believe that we as persons of faith and we, as leaders, and those of us who use the social media actively owe a responsibility to our society and to everyone else, to ensure that we don’t allow it to become an instrument of conflict and instrument of war,” the minister was quoted.
However, Shield criticized this move in a very acerbic statement.
He said, “Our nation is in danger of extinguishing the basic ideals of any serious democracy. We are about to become a nation governed by utter secrecy.
We were at the Senate yesterday to present our position on the anti-social media bill.
When we are done sleeping as citizens, we will eventually hit the streets and tell this Govt we are not slaves in our own country. pic.twitter.com/4cFhvF4jr1
— Henry Shield (@henryshield) November 13, 2019