Protesters in their numbers marched to the Lagos State House of Assembly on Wednesday, demanding an end to the social media bill and the hate speech bill.
The protesters comprised concerned Nigerians, different civil society groups, including the Occupy Nigeria Group, Take it Back Movement, Socialist workers youth group, among others.
The protest kicked off at Ikeja local government and moved to the Lagos State House of Assembly.
The protesters, who were mostly youth, demanded that both bills, which have passed the second reading stage at the National Assembly, should be withdrawn. They described the bills as anti-people, anti-democracy, and suppression 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.
“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.”
The protesters called on the State House of Assembly to liaise with their ‘colleagues’ at the Senate and ensure that the bills are scrapped.
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.”
When asked whether he is in support of the bill, Mr Yusuff said; “I have not even seen the bill myself, I cannot be in support or against what I have not seen.”
Mr Yusuff assured the protesters that their grievances will be heard on the floor of the house and he would represent them well.
The protesters also demanded the release of Omoyele Sowore, Abba Jalingo and other ‘political prisoners’ who are held against court orders.