Former governor of Ogun State, Chief Olusegun Osoba, has strongly kicked against the ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation 2019’ bill seeking to regulate Nigeria’s social media space.
While accusing sponsors of the bill of an attempt to silence the press in a democratic nation, Osoba taunted the lawmakers throwing their weight behind the bill.
He said their action is a taint on the struggles of those who fought for the nation’s freedom and democracy.
The Senate had re-introduced the bill sponsored by Mohammed Sani Musa, senator representing Niger East Senatorial District. [The Cable]
The former Ogun governor made his stance on the controversial bill known during his speech at an event commemorating 160 years of journalism in Nigeria.
Osoba said, “We (media practitioners) don’t deserve this treatment from senators who are now enjoying the benefit of the war that we waged against the military to entrench democracy in Nigeria.
“We (media practitioners) fought the military to a standstill. You will recall many of our people lost their lives, those who are propagating a bill should remember.
“Where were they when NADECO, the media stood up to fight Abacha? Were they born? Did their forefathers fight in those days when Herbert Macaulay and co were fighting for the liberation of the colonial system to independence and then we took it up under the military?
“We all suffered under Abacha. The Guardian was burnt. Punch was closed down. Those who were running TELL Magazine had to run out of the country into exile. I can go on with the examples of the deprivation we suffered.”
He further expressed that everyone will be victims should the social media bill be allowed to scale through.
Osoba maintained that there is a mechanism to checkmate ‘bad journalism’ should anyone find a report to have damaged their reputation.
Since the social media bill passed second reading, politicians, key opinion leaders, and the Nigerian populace have expressed that the bill is a threat to Nigerians’ freedom of speech and the nation’s democracy.