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Social Media Offenders To Get 3-Years Imprisonment As Senate Seeks To Regulate Use

Valentine Chinyem

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Social Media use may soon be regulated, as the Nigeria senate is deliberating on a bill seeking to regulate social media in the country.

The bill titled, ‘protection from internet falsehood and manipulations bill, 2019’ which has passed its first reading, is being sponsored by the senator representing Niger East, Mohammed Sani Musa.

The proposed legislation was one of the 11 bills read for the first time on Tuesday.

Musa, while speaking with journalists in Abuja, said the country needs the legislation because it would protect its “fragile unity”.

“There has never been a time when Nigeria has been very fragile in terms of its unity than this period,” Musa said.

“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.”

More so, he added that the bill proposes a fine of N150,000 or three years imprisonment for any offender.

“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,” the senator said.

“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.”

It would be recalled that the 8th Senate under the leadership of Sen. Bukola Saraki, also sought to regulate social media use in the country, but from outcry from the public, the bill was dropped.