The Senate will expunge Section 4 of the Anti-Frivolous Petitions Bill, popularly known as ‘Anti-Social Media Bill,’ to give the media the freedom it deserved, the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, has said.
This is contained in a statement signed by the Special Assistant on New Media, Bankole Omishore, and issued to journalists on Friday in Abuja.
The statement said that Mr. Saraki gave the assurance while delivering a keynote address at an interactive session of Social Media Week in Lagos.
He promised that the National Assembly would not pass any bill that would gag the media or infringe on the rights of Nigerians.
Mr. Saraki recounted the critical role played by online media in the successful conduct of the 2015 general elections.
He said that social media ensured that manipulation of votes was reduced to the barest minimum because results were posted online as the elections progressed.
He urged Nigerians to continue to contribute to the development of the country through dialogue and debate on social media.
The president assured that the legislature would be open to Nigerians as part of its effort to ensure transparency and accountability.
He said that the recent interactive session between the National Assembly and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) was part of such efforts.
Mr. Saraki assured that the legislature would, from 2017, engage CSOs in budget hearing process to ensure inclusiveness.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Na’ Allah sponsored a bill to prohibit frivolous petitions, and other matters connected therewith, 2015.
The bill scaled second reading on the floor of the senate and it is scheduled for public hearing in March. (NAN)