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Protesters besiege National Assembly, demand report on social media bill

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National Assembly


Hundreds of protesters besieged the National Assembly Complex yesterday to prevail on the Senate Committee reviewing the proposed social media and hate speech bills to publicise its report on them.

Although, security operatives barred the protesters from gaining access to the National Assembly premises, they took over the main entrance of the complex, which was locked up as protesters continued their rally.

Speaking during the protest, Convener of the Centre for Liberty (CFL), Maryam Ahmed, said the protest was aimed at supporting the National Assembly and the Federal Government in the fight against disinformation and hate speech in the country.

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She disclosed that the CFL had worked on a document that contained extensive research and recommendations on what other democratic nations were doing to tackle fake news in their countries.

Noting that it would be one year on March 9, 2021 since the public hearing on the bill took place, Ahmed said Nigerians were concerned that the committee had not published its report on the rejection of the bill during its public hearing, despite Nigerians’ continued demand for the report.

Ahmed pointed out that during an online portal that CFL coordinated, 50 per cent of respondents supported a reading of the committee’s report during the public hearing, while 42 per cent voted to kill the bill, as they believed that it should be dead by now.

She urged Chairman of the committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, to expedite action on the publication of the panel’s report so that the true will of Nigerians could be made known to the National Assembly, especially the Senate.

Receiving a report and a letter on behalf of the Senate, the Sergeant-at-Arms, Sani Zakare, who urged the protesters to remain calm and peaceful while expressing their grievances, assured the group that their demands would be delivered to the lawmakers.

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