OrderPaperToday– As the heat over the introduction of Hate Speech and Social Media bills gains momentum, the Senate has reaffirmed that it will not pass any legislation that Nigerians are opposed to.
The Senate reacting to protests against the bills by CSOs and individuals protested at the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The opponents of the bills demanded explicitly for their withdrawal.
Responding on behalf of the Red Chamber, the chairman, Senate Committee on Cybercrime, Yakubu Oseni, assured that Nigerians will get their turn to speak on the proposed laws during the public hearing of the bills.
He also stressed that they will not be passed if Nigerians oppose them.
“No single bill will pass without public hearing. We are here to make laws for Nigerians, not the Senate. I want to assure you that the 9th Senate is not in any way an appendage of the executives. It is not true.
“If the Senate president said something, we should always check what he said before he said that. I can quote him verbatim. He said knows that ‘Mr President meant well for Nigerians and that whatever he brings and we know that would better the lots of Nigerians, we will not hesitate to pass it through’. We all here to protect the interests of Nigerians.”
Senator Uba Sani, who was also present, corrobated his colleague’s disclosure on the 9th Red Chamber’s willingness to protect the interest of Nigerians.
He said, “We have heard your agitation. We believe it is a very important agitation. Some of us in the Chamber have also been involved in the struggle for the enthronement of democracy in the country.
“That is why we have a very competent leadership under distinguished Senator Ahmed Lawan who since the beginning of the 9th Senate, has been extremely open to the agitation of virtually every group that has come to the National Assembly and made their position clear.
“The two bills in question are bills that were introduced by some of our colleagues. Some of us in the National Assembly, including the Senate president, would appear at the public hearing. Whatever Nigerians want is what the 9th Senate would do.
“The law is not about the 109 senators. It is about Nigerians. Democracy is about free speech, it is about rule of law. That is why their voices are extremely important. That is why we believe that your agitation is valid and also in the best interest of our own county. We are going to certainly work with you on the day of the public hearing.”
He continued: “I have no doubt in my mind, if Nigerians don’t want these bills, even though they are being sponsored by our colleagues, certainly it won’t escape the public hearing. I can assure you we are going to do whatever is in the best interest of our own country.
“We are aware of section 24 of the Cybercrime Act and some of us are on the same page with these agitations. We are not guided by any political affiliation. We are guided by the law and concerned about the progress of our own country.”