The controversy over the proposed Social Media Bill seems not to be going down at any moment.
The Bill has been described as a direct contravention to freedom of expression as enshrined in the 1999 constitution.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo in a series of tweets critised those whom he described as overnight social media activists to practice what the preach as they opposed the bill sponsored by Senator Musa Sani.
“Those so-called overnight Social Media ‘activists’ who oppose the Social Media Bill should first stop blocking those who irritate them with insults, unblock all those they have blocked and apologise to them. You can’t be intolerant and ask others to be. Practice what you preach.”
While noting that a reasonable person won’t support a death sentence for hate speech, Keyami pointed that some can’t differentiate the difference between the proposed Hate Speech and Social Media Bills.
“Some cannot differentiate the Social Media Bill from the Hate Speech Bill. Whilst no reasonable person will support death sentence for hate speech, you can’t come online to say something totally untrue that can put other lives in danger without some kind of penal consequence.
“The real agitation should be for Parliament, in line with S.36(12) of the 1999 Constitution, to clearly define the TYPES of false & insensitive posts that would attract penal consequences, so that govt doesn’t abuse it. But to leave everyone to just post ANYTHING is unacceptable.
“Civil suits on Defamation of character only take care of PERSONAL INSULTS. I don’t subscribe to punishment for that. But you cannot come online to deliberately post false stories, in the guise of ‘freedom of speech’, that can set the nation ablaze without some penal consequences,” he wrote.