Michael Stephens, veteran rapper better known as Ruggedman, has tackled Elisha Abbo, lawmaker representing Adamawa north, over his support for a bill seeking to regulate social media.
The entertainer also wondered why the lawmaker did not bring up a bill to regulate police brutality among others.
The bill entitled ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation 2019’ passed second reading at the senate after Sani Musa, lawmaker representing Niger east and its sponsor, moved a motion for a debate on the proposed law.
The proposed legislation was however rejected by some Nigerians including celebrities who took to Twitter to express their reservations, especially “how it violates their fundamental right of freedom of speech.”
But while speaking during a plenary debate on the bill at the national assembly, Abbo had called for its swift passage into law to regulate the scourge of fake news and falsehood in Nigeria.
In the less than two-minutes video presentation of the senator — which has now gone viral online — the legislator had stated the country risks being consumed if the menace of fake news is not contained.
“The issue of fake news in this country, if it’s not regulated is a cancer waiting to consume all of us,” he had said.
“Even conventional media that are regulated are suffering from falsehood. If we cannot regulate the spread of falsehood, it will consume all of us tomorrow.”
In his reaction to the video clip, the veteran rapper wondered why the lawmaker did not apply similar energy in proposing a bill which would regulate embezzlement, police brutality excessive charging by telecommunication companies in the country.
“U skipped supporting the police reform bill. You didn’t bring up a bill to regulate embezzlement, police brutality or telcos & banks over charging. It’s fake news that @PoliceNG (if paid well n equipped) can investigate and arrest d guilty party dat u r on,” he wrote.
U skipped supporting the police reform bill.
You didnt bring up a bill to regulate embezzlement, police brutality or telcos & banks over charging.
It's fake news that @PoliceNG (if paid well n equipped) can investigate and arrest d guilty party dat u r on
— RUGGEDMAN (@RuggedyBaba) November 21, 2019
There are also fears among citizens that if eventually passed, the bill would spell end of freedom of speech enshrined in the constitution as well as drag the country into full dictatorial regime.
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