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Lawyer Drags Buhari, NASS To Court Over Social Media Bill

A lawyer, Tope Akinyode, has dragged President Muhammadu Buhari and the Senate over the proposed ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019.”

Akinyode filed the suit before the Federal High Court in Lagos, seeking an order of perpetual injunction prohibiting the respondents from enacting the bill, “which was introduced on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on November 5, 2019 and targeted towards regulating the use of social media in Nigeria.”

Listed as the 1st to 4th respondents in the suit were the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Federal Republic of Nigeria; President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; and the Senate President.

The lawyer said the filed the suit on the grounds that Section 39(1) of the constitution gives Nigerians the “right to freely express themselves, hold opinions and receive and impart ideas and information without any let and hindrance.”

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He said, “In Nigeria’s democracy, the 2nd respondent under the watch of the 3rd respondent is notorious for arbitral disregard for court orders and the rule of law, therefore, the bill seeking to regulate the social media is not reasonably justifiable under Nigeria’s democracy, as there is a grave danger that citizens’ voices will be silenced if the bill is allowed; just as there is no end in sight to the continuous disregard for the rule of law.”

Akinyode said unless the respondents were stopped from passing the bill, irreparable damages would be visited on the fundamental rights of Nigerians.

The court has yet to fix a date to hear the suit.

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