Anti-social Media Bill Is Dead On Arrival – Saraki

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BEVERLY HILLS, February 26, (THEWILL) – Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has declared that section 4 of the Anti-frivolous petition Bill, popularly known as 'Anti-Social Media law' would not be passed by the senate.

Saraki, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on New Media, Mr. Bankole Omishore, emphasised the growing influence of social media users in Nigeria's political environment while delivering the keynote address at the StateCraft Masterclass series at Social Media Week, held in Lagos.

“Without the involvement of social media, there is no way that we would have moved from a non-performing government — because now everything is out in the open unlike years ago,” he said.

The bill, sponsored by the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na'Allah, has passed second reading on the floor of both chambers of the National Assembly in December last year while the Senate had fixed March this year for the public hearing which led to protest by social media crusaders.

Saraki also commended the online community, which he dubbed as the real 'Chairmen of INEC,' for collating election results from polling stations during the general elections, and ensured that the manipulation of vote counts was eliminated.

“Though we had the numbers. It is really thanks to social media that votes counted because you shared the results as they happened.”

Saraki went on to assure the audience at that in the next few weeks, the calls for an Open National Assembly (#OpenNASS) would be actualized, and Nigerians would get to see the line-item allocations of the National Assembly.

He also called for continued cooperation and conversation between the government and the public via social media, and mentioned that Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) would be a part of the budget hearing process, following the recent National Assembly Interactive Session with the CSOs.

Story by David Oputah