A cross section of Nigerians have commended the Nigerian Senate for listening to the outcries of Nigerians who spoke against the section of the proposed bill on electronic fraud which recommended a five-year jail term for anyone who speaks against the government on social media.
Sen. Gbenga Kaka (APC-Ogun) on Tuesday announced that Senators had decided to delete section 13 (3) from the proposed bill on electronic fraud because it could be abused and misinterpreted.
The section stipulates a seven-year jail for people who intentionally publish slanderous messages about government electronically.
“Anyone who intentionally propagates false information that could threaten the security of the country or capable of inciting the general public against the government through electronic message shall be guilty of an offense.
“And upon conviction shall be sentenced to seven years imprisonment or N5 million fine. ”
According to him, they consulted with several stakeholders before reaching the decision.
“Following the public hearing which was held after the second reading, the section 13 (3) of the provision was taken exception to by the social media.
“And since the bill is now in the public, I decided to consult with the Senate Committee Chairman on Information, Media and Public Affairs, and that of Judiciary.
“After consultations, we resolved that section 13 (3) of the proposed bill could be abused at any point in time and could be misinterpreted.
“And as a result, I have their permission to announce to the world that that section shall be deleted.”
Many Nigerians who responded via social media this morning said the lawmakers made the right decision.
Tope Okeyanju said: “The lawmakers demonstrated that we are in a democracy where the voice of the people matters. They proposed it, we spoke against it and they hearkened to our call for its deletion.”
Dapo Awosanya said if they had gone ahead and passed the bill into law, many Nigerians would be silenced.
“Social media is currently the only place where we can say what is truly on our minds. If they take that away from us, it could lead to anarchy and social perversion,” he said.
The bill is entitled: ‘’A bill for an Act to provide for the prohibition of and punishment for electronic fraud and crime in all electronic transactions in Nigeria.’’
The bill passed through the second reading in the senate and was greeted with a lot of criticism from the social media.