The Senate has introduced a bill to regulate the use of social media in the country.
The bill, which passed first reading at plenary on Tuesday, proposed N150, 000 fine or a three-month jail term for any individual who posts false information on social media.
The bill titled, ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019’ sponsored by Senator Sani Musa also prescribed a penalty of between N5m and N10m for any corporate organisation that refuses to block false information after being cautioned by the regulatory agency.
The bill also stipulates that telecommunication firms that allow their networks to be used to disseminate false information could face sanctions.
Musa, who represents Niger East in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, told reporters on Wednesday that the move was aimed at guiding social media users and not designed to gag the media.
He said, “Nigeria is not only for the government but for every Nigerian and we must all work towards moving this country to where it needs to be.
“You can see America and other advanced countries today; they have been together for over hundreds of years.
“They had their period of turmoil and challenges like ours, but they have been able to pass through.
“How did they do it? There is rule of law because people are obeying to the laws.
“For a country like Nigeria today and with the advent of social media, there is every reason for a country to as much as possible focus its attention on how this new media is tolerated.”
He said it was possible for an individual to stay in a room and post false information just to hit at someone.
The lawmaker added, “I have a passion for IT and I know what it takes to disseminate your information, it is like the speed of light.
“Some journalists will look at this legislation as if we are trying bring a law that will gag social media or the right to free press.
“It is legislation that will guide how we can tolerate our activities on social media.
“False information has been disseminated so many time and it has caused chaos in different parts of the world.
“If countries like the Philippines, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia, Australia, France, Indonesia, Egypt are putting control (measures in place) to prevent the spread of false information, what stops us from doing it?”
Tribunal Victory, An Act Of God – Gov. Bello
He described his victory at the Tribunal as an act of God and a testament to the popular votes cast in his favour by the people of the state.
Governor Bello stated this on Sunday shortly after he observed the Eid prayer at the Lokoja Township Stadium to mark the Eid-El-Fitr in Lokoja, the state capital.
According to him, the electorate re-elected him during the November 2019 governorship election to enable him to consolidate on the achievement recorded in his first tenure.
The governor insisted that his victory which was affirmed on Saturday by the judges of the Tribunal did not come to him as a surprise, as the electorate came out in large numbers to vote for him and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He stated that the victory has posed a challenge to him and assured the people that he would continue to do his best to ensure that they get good governance in the state.
Governor Bello made the remarks a day after the Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja dismissed the petition filed by the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the election, Mr Musa Wada, and his party.
In a judgment of two to one, the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, held that the petitioners failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumbprinting, and voter intimidation, among other electoral malpractices against the governor.
He also awarded a cost of N1 million to be paid by the petitioners to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Governor Bello, and the APC who were the respondents.
Governor Bello’s re-election was, however, nullified by Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele who gave a dissenting judgment.
Justice Ovbiagele, therefore, ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices
Tribunal Affirms Election Of Yahaya Bello As Kogi Governor
The Kogi Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Abuja has affirmed the election of incumbent Governor, Yahaya Bello.
The petition had been filed by Mr Musa Wada, the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election.
In a judgment of two to one, delivered by the Chairman of the Tribunal, Justice Kashim Kaigama, on Saturday, the tribunal held that the petitioner failed to prove the allegations of over-voting, massive thumb printing, voter intimidation, and other electoral malpractices.
The tribunal also awarded a cost of one million naira to be paid by the petitioners, PDP and Musa Wada to INEC, Yahaya Bello and APC who are the respondents.
In a dissenting judgment, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele nullified the election of Governor Yahaya Bello and ordered INEC to conduct fresh elections in seven local government areas where the petitioners proved their allegations of over-voting, thuggery, voter intimidation, massive thumb printing, and other electoral malpractices.
What Does Boss Mustapha Want From Ministry of Power? – By Edem Edem
Anyone reading through a circular dated 19th May, 2020, from the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) will only arrive at one solemn fact: Boss Mustapha is untowardly interested in goings on in the power sector. And his actions have begin to re-inforce talks in various quarters that he is a major beneficiary of the proceeds of darkness. The circular, in short, was a direct response to the sacking of the TCN MD by President Muhammadu Buhari on the recommendation of the Honourable Minister of Power, Eng Sale Mamman – an action that was popular as it was necessary. The circular, citing all sorts of rules, said the minister lacked the power to sack the erring MD. But nothing could be further from the truth. And this latest adventure clearly shows he is on a collision course with his own boss the President himself. Is he trying to over rule his own employer?
Because for those watching events closely, this may yet be another move to humiliate the minister by reversing a very effective decision just as it happened earlier this year. If that happens again, it would be an unmitigated tragedy both for national leadership, cohesion and indeed the entire power sector.
I’m a power sector activist so I should know. Many of the decisions taken by the minister are not only right but actually necessary if we must wade out of the embarrassing darkness we found ourselves. But officialdom, small minded meddlesomeness, and outright corruption keep getting in the way. The activities of Boss Mustapha in particular are worrisome.
I have some questions for Boss Mustapha.
1. Why does he always become restive with anything in the power Ministry?
2. Why didn’t he say all of these when the minister of communications, for instance, made some changes recently in top position of that Ministry?
3. Why didn’t we hear his (Boss) voice when similar reorganisation happened in key parastatal of the Ministry of Humanitarian Services when DG NEMA was replaced
4. Is it true the rumours making the rounds that he (Boss) benefits directly from some agencies within the power Ministry? The speed with which he acted when NBET MD was sacked is still fresh in my mind.
5. Is Boss Mustapha angry with the minister because SIEMENS company got a contract he is interested in? Why has be been so hard on local contractors making it difficult for them to meet targets.
Things to ponder
Nigerians will sooner or later have to chose between effectiveness and strangulating official procedures in addressing the power sector conundrum. The honourable minister must be empowered to go beyond those administrative red-tapism to deal with matters heads on. Procedures are great but not when an emergency like we have now has to be addressed.
The removal of the TCN boss was greeted with widespread jubilation in the industry especially by Patriots who want to see an end to darkness. The former MD was practically against the FG’s effort with SIEMENS and was openly granting interviews against the company due to his vested interest. By replacing him with a sound professional, Eng Abdulaziz, the minister demonstrated that he was willing and in fact, capable of delivering on his mandate. He, the minister, must not be frustrated in this bid. And Boss Mustapha must clearly know his place at the Federal Executive Council. A minister of the federal republic is clearly ahead of him in the Federal Executive Council (FEC). He must not be seen as rubbing shoulders with his superiors.
Edem Edem is a power sector watcher based in Sweden
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