The Nigerian Senate has reintroduced the bill seeking to regulate social media in the country, Naijaparry reports.
This news medium understands that in the previous senate, there was a similar bill sponsored by the former deputy majority leader, Bala Na’Allah. But the bill was withdrawn after outrage by some Nigerians.
However, the bill which passed first reading on Tuesday at the Senate is sponsored by Senator representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa.
The proposed legislation entitled ‘protection from internet falsehood and manipulations bill, 2019’ was one of the 11 bills read for the first time on the floor.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja, Senator Musa said Nigeria needs the legislation because it would protect its “fragile unity”.
He said: “There has never been a time when Nigeria has been very fragile in terms of its unity than this period.
“It is not to stop people from going into the internet to do whatever they feel legitimately is okay to do but what we felt is wrong is for you to use the medium to document information that you know is false, just because you want to achieve your desirable interest.”
Speaking further, the senator said the bill proposes a fine of N150,000 or three years imprisonment for any offender.
He said: “If it is a corporate organisation that refused to block that false information despite the fact that they have been alerted by authorities not to disseminate that information for public interest and they still go ahead and do it, refusing to do that blockage will be penalised between N5 million to N10 million for those organisations.
“For example, MTN, Glo, 9 mobile etc. which we use their platform in transmitting these information, if nothing is done, we fine them and you will see that it will be a deterrent to others.”