Anti-Social Media Bill: I Am Too Old For The Senate President To Toss Around, Says Na’Allah
Vows To Die In Defense Of The Bill
THE Deputy Majority Leader of the Senate, Bala Ibn Na’ Allah, of the All Progressives Congress (APC), representing Kebbi South, yesterday dismissed speculations that the controversial anti-social media bill was conceived by the Senate President Bukola Saraki to cover his past by gagging the media.
Blaming such insinuations on ignorance and lack of indebt knowledge of the Bill, Na’Allah stated that judging by his status in society, it would be unfair for anybody to link the Bill he sponsored to the Senate President in an attempt to further smear his office.
He stated: “That is the problem with Nigerians. I am too old for the Senate President to toss around. Go and ask him and tell him I said so.
“Those who know me properly will tell you that I don’t have a boss. I am an independent person. There is nothing God has not done for me.
“For your information, I am lawyer, I am a pilot, I am a senator and I am a traditional ruler, holding three titles.
“Tell me, which of these jobs cannot give me food to eat that you think would make me to be following Saraki about?
“Whatever you do in this country, there are people who would want to read meanings to it in order to discourage you. I don’t belong to the class of those leaders.
“As the Deputy Senate Leader, go and ask, in this National Assembly, whether I have even a prison warder following me about. I am alone. I don’t need any security.
“So, whoever wishes to do anything with me, I am available, because I believe that a country worth living in is a country worth dying for.”
Na’Allah recently sponsored a Bill, tiled, ‘Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Matters Connected Therewith (SB.143).’
If passed into law, the Bill stipulates two-year jail term and option of N2 million upon conviction for anyone who posts abusive statements on the social media.
It also becomes unlawful for anyone to submit any petition, as well as statement intended to report the conduct of any person for the purpose of an investigation, inquiry without a duly sworn affidavit confirming the content to be true and in accordance with the Oaths Act.
The Bill equally stipulates that any petition or complaints not accompanied by a sworn affidavit would be considered incompetent and cannot be used by any government institution, agency or bodies established by any law for the time being enforced in Nigeria.
The Bill started generating public interest and outcry when it was read for the second time within a short period of time.
But its sponsor said: “There is nothing like being in a hurry about this Bill. The public hearing is going to take place. It is passing through the normal procedure.
“Every Nigerian has a representative in the senate and I remember when I moved for the second reading, the senate president asked whether any senator wished to speak against it, but none of them spoke. Why didn’t the public speak through their representative then?
“So, now that everybody wants to claim credit, you think I should just sit down? Let me tell you, I am ready to give my life to doing what is good for this country. I didn’t come to the senate because I like what I am doing; I am in the Senate for a purpose.”
The senate deputy leader also urged the civil society to approach the court is they fell strongly against the Bill, stressing that he is not afraid of court.
“Let them go to court. I am a lawyer. You think I am afraid of court? I have spent the best part of my life as a lawyer and I am sure that there is virtually no part of this country where people don’t know me as a lawyer.
“As to whether I am a jagajaga lawyer or not, it is your own opinion, but I do know that based on my little understanding of the law, I posses the capacity to defend this case,” he stated.