The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has said that social media bill being sponsored by Senator Ibn Na’Allah will gag freedom of the citizen to express themselves saying it is an infringement on the rights of Nigerians guaranteed in the 1999 constitution as well as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The NLC in a statement signed by the national president, Peters Adeyemi said the bill is coming at a time Nigerians expect legislators and all Nigerians to recommit themselves to actions and legislations that can contribute to deepening democracy as well as fight against corruption.
He said, “The bill, which proposes an option of N4 million as fine for those claimed to have made false newspaper, radio or television statements and N2 million for those claimed to have made false phone text messages or statements on Facebook, twitter, Instagram, or WhatsApp is a sad reminder of the military era when journalists were mindlessly hurled into jail for writing what the military junta considered spiteful.
“We are completely opposed to the bill, which is an affront on our constitution as well as international conventions and legal instruments to which Nigeria is signatory. Democracy cannot thrive when rights as fundamental as freedom of opinion is criminalised.
“The bill is totally unacceptable and a threat to the growth of democracy as it is a direct attack on the fundamental rights of our people. We reject it and urge all senators to reject it.
“We are committed not only to promote democracy but also protect it against damages as severe as the bill portends. We fought for democracy alongside majority of Nigerians and we will not allow jaundiced politicians use their privileged positions in contemporary times to truncate the system.”