Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 8 December 2015 | 2,878 times
A large number of Nigerians angered by the ongoing moves by the Senate to promulgate a law to gag social media users and muzzle free speech today staged a peaceful protest at the National Assembly, Abuja.
The protesters, guided by security operatives of the National Assembly, took a walk from the main in entrance to the the security point, where they were stopped, to express their grievances.
They requested the discontinuation of the legislative process of turning the anti-social media bill into law.
The protesters brandished placards containing different inscriptions, among them, “#No to social media bill”, “#No to gag social media users”, “#Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right”.
Speaking with News Express, one of the spokespersons, Aisha Yesufu, said: “We shall always fight for our rights and what belongs to us. Nigeria belongs to everybody and not some people.
“The bill is unwholesome and depriving. We don’t want this and we give our lawmakers weeks to stop the legislative process on this bill to stop social media users from using the media to expose.”
Two senators, one each of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), were sent to meet the protesters on behalf of the National Assembly: Senators Shehu Sani and Enyinnaya Abaribe. They assured that the senate will never pass such a bill into law, saying that the 8th Senate canot fight corruption without promoting freedom of speech by Nigerians.
They further noted that the social media is the vital brain of Nigeria’s democracy. As Sani put it, “There is no doubt that this bill has spoilt the conscience and mindset of Nigerians and we know it would not have been possible for us to be here today if not for the use of social media. So, we cannot throw away the ladder that we mounted to this place of honour.”
“Today, we are going to deliver your message and this matter shall be placed before the Senate for further deliberation,” Senator Sani assured.
•Photo by Mayowa Okekale shows protesters against anti-social media law . . . today at the National Assembly, Abuja.
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