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Monday, December 07, 2015

Frivolous Petitions Bill 2015: NGE says Senate undermines Nigerian Constitution



The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has demanded unconditionally, the suspension by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria all proceedings with respect to a proposed Bill, "Frivolous Petitions (Prohibitions etc) Bill 2015," reports ITRealms.

President, NGE, Garba Deen Muhammad, told ITRealms, that broad objective of this curiously accelerated Bill is to outlaw the freedom of expression of all Nigerian citizens and freedom of speech of all media organizations operating in print, electronic and on-line platforms in Nigeria and beyond.
“Appallingly, the Bill has also included as its target very personal and private means of communication such as SMS or text messages and WhatsApp, among others,” NGE lamented.
NGE President also stressed that the freedom of speech and expression is guaranteed in section 22 and 39(1) of the 1999 Nigerian constitution respectively. Stressing that to enact any kind of law under any guise that will contradict these fundamental provisions is to deliberately seek to undermine the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“We are, therefore, concerned that a group of persons elected by Nigerians to ensure that their rights, privileges and interests are protected, should gleefully misuse the mandate given to them to the detriment of the same people that elected them,” Guild President said.

He pointed out that there are already existing laws in our Constitution that can accommodate all the concerns, real or imagined, that the proposed Bill is expected to address. These laws include the Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act 2015, the Libel law etc.

According to press statement personally endorsed by NGE president, its n view of this and the glaring danger posed by the proposed Bill, the NGE is strongly advising the Senate to drop all proceedings on the proposed Bill and turn its attention instead to critical areas in need of urgent intervention.

NGE believes the Senate has a right both individually and collectively to express their concerns about the abuse of the cyberspace by unscrupulous people and organizations, they should consolidate or strengthen the existing laws and enforce implementation.

“We call on all Nigerians that are justifiably peeved by the very consideration of enacting such obnoxious law to remain calm and express their opposition through lawful means,” he said, maintaining that NGE frowns at on-line fraudsters who take advantage of the vulnerable cyber space to carry out cyber bullying, stealing, stalking and all manner of cybercrimes.
 

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Pix: Senate president, Abubakar Saraki

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