There has been a call for Godswill Akpabio, president of the Nigerian Senate, and Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, to “reject the recently reintroduced social media regulatory bill.”
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) issued a statement on Sunday saying that the bill’s passage “would unduly restrict the rights to freedom of expression and privacy” and urging the administration of President Bola Tinubu to cease its efforts to compel tech companies like Google and YouTube to restrict such “fundamental human rights.”
Kolawole Oluwadare, the group’s deputy director, said the bill would “criminalise the legitimate and lawful exercise of human rights”.
The group warned that the bill’s approval “would unreasonably restrict the rights to freedom of expression and privacy,” and urged the administration of President Bola Tinubu to abandon its efforts to force digital companies like Google and YouTube to impose restrictions on such “basic human rights.”
According to the statement, the National Broadcasting Commission said last week that social media is “a monster” and “one of Nigeria’s major concerns right now.”
“Social media is neither Nigeria’s problem nor a monster,” the organisation SERAP wrote in a letter dated 14 October 2023 signed by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare. There would be immeasurable material and human rights damage from any attempt to regulate it because of its arbitrary and excessive impacts.
Inconsistent and incompatible with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international human rights commitments would be any attempt to regulate social media.
Reintroducing the social media regulatory law would have dire consequences for human rights, the economy as a whole, and the distribution of wealth.