Nothing has described the Nigerian Senate this month than the push for the Hate Speech bill and the Social Media Bill, one coming after the other like heads from a hydra. With the massive pushback against the Bills on the internet, and an organised protest on the horizon, it will be interesting to see the legislative fate of these Bills. Here’s the YNaija Senators’ Ranking for November.
10. Sani Musa
Technically, the Social Media Bill is called the Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulation Bill, and while it has been ostensibly presented by Senator Musa to counteract fake news that abound the internet, there’s a growing conspiracy that it is a political move to sling-shot President Buhari into a third term tenure. There are already defamation laws in place, which makes the social media Bill redundant.
Also, Senator Musa has been met with allegations of plagiarism – a copy of the Singaporean legislation on the same subject matter, which surfaced on social media on Saturday, revealed that the title and most of the contents of Musa’s bill currently undergoing debate at the National Assembly were the same.
9. Aliyu Abdullahi
The Senate last week Tuesday reintroduced the Hate Speech Bill that seeks to penalise persons found guilty of hate speech. Based on the Bill, it prescribes death penalty for anyone found guilty of spreading a falsehood that leads to the death of another person. This is generated controversy online, and rightfully so. Sponsor of the Bill Aliyu Abdullahi has been in the spotlight, now succumbing to pressure and promising that his proposed legislation would be amended to remove death penalty as the maximum punishment for offenders.
8. Elisah Abbo
Senator Elisah Abbo leveraged on the buzz of the Hate Speech Bill to push for the Social Media Bill as a supporter. Caught on camera, Abbo gained notoriety for assaulting a woman in an Abuja adult store and not only did the clip go viral on social media, many Nigerians crusaded for his punishment. Abbo prominently championing the social media bill isn’t surprising. Many advocacies have been driven and amplified through social media with tangible results in the end, and it’s just one of the reasons the bill has to be stifled.
7. Yahaya Abdullahi
The Finance Bill has been in legislative limbo for a while now, which passed second and third reading before evolving into a law. Casually known as President Buhari’s Finance Bill which the president presented to the National Assembly back in October, it was sponsored by Yahaya Abdullahi and it seeks to reform the tax regime in the country. Ramifications of this law is that Nigerians would pay more for goods and services, as law places an increment in value added tax from 5% to 7.5%.
6. Al-Mukura Tanko
Senator Al-Mukura Tanko just recently moved for the motion to address the power shortages in Nigeria by including nuclear power in Nigeria’s energy mix. According to Tanko, nuclear energy is possible, several nations have demonstrated it and if Nigeria wants to get many of its people out of poverty, nuclear energy is an alternative. Outrageous, actually.
5. Mandiya Bello
A Bill for an Act to establish the Federal University of Agriculture and Technology Funtua, and to make comprehensive provisions for its due management and administration and for related matters, was sponsored by Senator Mandiya Bello.
The Bill, which was supported by Senator Barkiya, will make it possible to train commercial farmers and incorporate the latest in agro-technology in their farming.
4. Ovie Omo-Agege
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege has sponsored a Bill for an Act to amend the Electoral Act No. 6 2010 and for other related matters. It has passed a second reading and with support from Senator Abba Moro and Senator Michael Nnachi, the Bill seeks to ensure the INEC has credible and legitimate elections, with a potential clause to limit the number of political parties participating in elections.
3. Clifford Ordia
Last week, Clifford Ordia raised the motion for the need to combat the high rate of infants deaths caused by Pneumonia, and there was a resolve by a large number of senators to urge the Federal Ministry of Health to launch a massive vaccination programme to arrest the killer disease and also push for relevant health agencies to make available Amoxicillin DT antibiotics to health centers round the country to treat the infection.
2. Oluremi Tinubu
Senator Oluremi Tinubu hasn’t been in the news for a while since that viral clip of her admonishing Senator Elisha Abbo during a disciplinary hearing over assaulting a pregnant woman in an adult store in Abuuja. Tinubu moved the motion to promote tourism and further diversify the econom. According to her, the tourism potential of every local government should be looked into to attract foreign investment.
1. Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe
In senate plenary this week, Ibrahim Oloriegbe sponsored a bill seeking to establish a commission for Mental Health passed its second reading in the Senate. The bill entitled “A Bill for an Act to provide for the establishment and regulation of mental health and substance abuse services, protect persons with mental health needs and the Establishment of National Commission for Mental and Substance Abuse Services, for the effective management of mental health in Nigeria and other related matters.
The bill is quite extensive in scope, and just shows how Senator Oloriegbe is politically aware about current conversations on mental health.