Scores of protesters, Wednesday, marched to the Lagos State House of Assembly and demanded an end to the social media bill and the hate speech bill, currently being debated at the Senate.
A week after the Senate introduced a bill to regulate social media, the Red Chamber reintroduced another bill seeking to establish a commission for the probation of hate speech in the country.
The bill prescribed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.
However, the protesters which were mostly youths, comprised of different civil society groups, concerned Nigerians, including the Occupy Nigeria Group, Take it Back Movement, Socialist workers youth group, among others.
The protest, which started at the Ikeja Local Government Area secretariat moved to the Lagos State House of Assembly at Alausa.
The protesting groups called for the withdrawal of both bills which had passed the second reading stage at the National Assembly, noting that the bills were undemocratic and a violation of the fundamental human rights of Nigerians.
Towolawi Jamiu, the spokesperson of the protesters, told the representative of the Lagos State House of Assembly that they were gathered to express their grievances towards the intention of the Senate to completely truncate Nigeria’s democracy.
According to him, “The Judiciary has been totally hijacked; the ninth Assembly has also been hijacked. We are here to say no to the social media and hate speech bills and demand that they should be totally scrapped.
“The bills are not for the interest of the masses and we are going to resist the bills. The laws were smuggled into our democracy from the military regime and we are going to resist them,” he said.
The protesters, however, urged the State House of Assembly to liaise with their colleagues at the Senate and ensure that the bills did not see the light of the day.
Adebisi Yusuff, a member of the House of Assembly who addressed the protesters, said there is a process of the law through which a bill can be killed.
“No bill can be passed without subjecting it to public hearing. As a vocal group, you can mobilise your members to attend the public hearing where your opinions will be heard.”
Yusuff, however, added that he had not seen the bill and could not comment further on it.
“I have not even seen the bill myself, I cannot be in support or against what I have not seen,” he added.
Yusuff assured the protesters that their grievances would be heard on the floor of the House and that he would represent them well.