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November 13, 2019 at 7:45 PMKCEE
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA – THE Senate has vowed that it would vehemently kill any Bill Presented before it that is designed to create Hardship for Nigerians.
According to the Senate, bills that will not represent the interest and wishes of Nigerians will die on arrival.
Addressing Journalists yesterday, the Acting Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, All Progressives Congress, APC, Nasarawa South however urged Nigerians to be patient with the Senate as the lawmakers will not in any way carry out actions that would hurt them.
Senator Godiya Akwashiki who was responding to a question on hate speech Commission Bill that was read the first time on Tuesday said, “We have a process of enacting a law or an act in the National Assembly or in the state Assembly. The process starts with the First reading, when the Leader of the Senate will read it for the first time. The Second reading is taken after the bill has been subjected to debate on the floor of the Senate. Once a bill scales second reading, it has to go to the committee and would return to the house again.
“If it is a bill that will represent the wishes and interest of Nigerians, it will scale second reading. If it is a bill that will create hardship for the people of Nigeria and crisis, it will be killed on the floor of the Senate by senators when it comes for second reading
“I want to urge Nigerians to exercise patience with me Senate because it is not wise for me nor legally right for me to discuss a bill that has not been mentioned for the second time on the floor of the Senate. When the bill comes for second reading, then you will know where it is heading or what the Senate intends to do.
“I want to assure you that even if the bill scale second reading on the floor of the Senate, we are working for the progress and betterment of Nigerians. We are representing the local people even in the village, that bill even if scales second reading, it will protect your interest (as journalists) and give you immunity to make sure you do your job justifiably without fear.”
Recall that the Senate had last week, brought back a bill that will regulate the use of social media in Nigeria, this time, entitled, Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill, 2019( SB.132).
The Bill which is sponsored by the Chairman, Committee on Senate Services, Senator Mohammed Sani Musa, APC, Niger East if passed at the end of the day, would help curb fake news on the internet.
The bill, which was one of the 11 bills read for the first time, is awaiting the Second Reading, then Public Hearing before the third read.
Recall that there was this kind of anti-social media bill introduced by the previous eighth Senate, which led to outrage across the country, but was later withdrawn.
The old bill titled “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith” was sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’Allah, APC, Kebbi Central and sought to among others, compel critics to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit, or face six months imprisonment upon conviction.
Also recall that on Tuesday this week, a Bill to Establish a Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches resurfaced in the Senate.
The Bill titled, “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Est, etc) Bill, 2019(SB.154) and sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, APC, Niger North was read the first time at Plenary.
In line with the tradition of the Senate, the new bill was introduced by the Senate Leader, Senator Yahaya Abdullahi, APC, Kebbi North and affirmed by the Clerk of the Senate, Nelson Ayewor.
With this development, the bill which was abandoned last year after intense pressure and criticisms, is on its way back to the Upper Chamber.
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