Nigerian senators have shown that they pay attention to discourse on social media as the Senate has reacted to the massive outrage against the proposed social media bill.
Opening the discussion during plenary on Thursday, was Senator Dino Melaye, who raised a point of order accusing Sahara Reporters, of publishing lies against him and members of the senate.
Melaye maintained that the bill was not against freedom of speech and that the true essence of the proposed bill has been misinterpreted by the public.
“While I celebrate the social media as one of the actors, this senate should not be blackmailed,” he said.
“The senate is a sacred hallowed chamber. The bill moved yesterday by Ibn Na’allah has been misconstrued by the same people.
“This senate should not be quiet about it.”
Senator Ali Ndume also stated his frustration at the rampant nature of published lies across the country.
“It is not only Sahara Reporters; there are other online platforms that wake up and post all sorts of things.
“At a point, one of the online platforms accused me of buying 400 golf cars for Boko Haram use,” he said.
Another senator, Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti State) revealed that she had to quit all the social media platforms “because of these problems”.
Senator Ben Murray Bruce also had a face off with the accused SaharaReporters on Twitter, a social media platform, hours before the senate sat, accusing the outfit of lying.
After the senators had expressed their views, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki ruled on the issue.
He said: “We all support freedom of speech but as a senate we should not be blackmailed.
“You can’t write false stories just because it is social media.”
The matter was then forwarded to the committees on ICT, Judiciary as well as the Ethics and Privileges committee.