By Michael Adesanya/ Abeokuta
The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Tuesday kicked against the controversial Social Media and the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bills before the Senate, describing it as an attempt to maim Nigerians’ freedom of expression and democracy.
The NANS Public Relations Officer, Azeez Adeyemi announced this opposition at a Press Conference in Abeokuta.
He said the bills are part of moves by the government to cow the ordinary man, youth and the journalist to pave way for anarchy and impunity.
Adeyemi noted that if the proposed legal frameworks are allowed to pass, the government will be vested with the sole power to determine what an hate speech is, and as a result use this power to witchhunt opponents and even journalists.
He said with the bill, the government is all out to clamp down on critics of its anti-human policies and acts.
His words: ” There is no doubt that the Nigerian government is all out to clamp down on critics of their anti- human policies and acts. However, any government going this way is gradually moving toward anarchy, a point Nigerian Students will resist with every strength we have”.
According to Adeyemi, the bill which passed the second reading last week and would soon become a law, would give law enforcement agencies the power to shut down access to the internet and social media without recourse to the National Assembly or a court in its part 3 (12).
“We have other students in other parts of the world, but they will never be caged the way Nigerian government is trying to muscle us as if they want the world to end in this century”.
Adeyemi also called the attention of Nigerians to the “witch hunting” of students by lawmakers, when their “anti -masses behaviour are talked about on social media by these students even when the social media bill is yet to be passed into the law”.
He who cited the case of a second year student, Yahuza Tijani of the department of Science and Technology Education, Bayero University whomnhe said has been in police custody since September 2019 for speaking his mind on his Facebook wall against a member of the State Assembly.
According to him, Yahuza was picked by men of Nigerian Police force after posting on Facebook: ” you know he was not well educated, as a result of which he doesn’t know how to calculate figures. He said 1230, he later said 1500 and he ended saying 2000.”
In another post, Tijani was said to have written “I pray to God almighty that the election petition tribunal declare the election of State’s Assembly void”.