A bill for an Act to Make Provisions for the Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation and for related matters 2019 passed second reading in the Senate.
This followed the presentation of the lead debate on the bill by the sponsor, Senator Musa Sani (APC-Niger east) during Wednesday’s plenary.
Leading the debate, Sani said that the bill was a 36-clause legislative proposal to provide for the prevention of broadcast of falsehood and manipulative contents using the internet and its intermediaries for transmission.
“It prescribes sanctions to offenders with a view to deterrence and the penalty for defaulters ranges from fine of up to N300, 000,” the lawmaker said.
Sani added that the bill also provided for the issuance of regulations dealing with transmission of false statements of facts in Nigeria upon declaration.
“It also issues guidelines for internet intermediaries and providers of mass media services and sanctions for offenders,” he said.
The lawmaker further said that the internet had its drawbacks one of which was the spread of falsehood and manipulation of unsuspecting users including malicious contents such as confrontational propaganda among others.
“The hoax about the demise of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and his purported replacement by one Jibril of Sudan among others are things that threaten the peace, security and harmony of our people,” he said.
While supporting the bill, Senator Ibrahim Gobir (APC- Sokoto East) said that there was a need to regulate the internet and punish offenders.
Senator Chimaroke Nnamani (PDP-Enugu East), however, rejected the bill, adding that he condemned it in its entirety.
Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, referred the bill to the Senate Committee in Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters for further legislative action.
He tasked the committee to report back to the Senate in four weeks.