Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), has joined some other Nigerians to demand a step down of the controversial social media and hate speech bills currently being considered at the National Assembly.
It said the bills was purposely designed to gag Nigerians and deny freedom particularly from speaking out freely but responsibly on matters that affect their lives in all spheres.
CAN inform Nigerians that the recent action of government was meant to distract them from discussing topical issues that have direct effect on survival and wellbeing such as poverty, corruption, and the provision of good health facilities, etc.
Its Director of Legal and Public Affairs, Kwamkur Samuel Vondip, said in a statement released in Abuja, on Thursday, that he was deeply concerned about the ongoing national debates and outcry over the proposed bill.
He encouraged governments at all levels and National Assembly members to pay greater attention to issues of insecurity, economic hardship, poverty, bad roads, poor education, dearth of infrastructure, and not on issues that temper with fundamental right of the people.
He admitted the fact that many people have taken advantage of social media to perpetrate evil and cause tremendous damage to individuals, both private and government institutions.
He added that CAN was not also ignorant of the grave consequences of hate speech among Nigerians and how political parties used it to effect change of leadership and government at various times.
He appealed to lawmakers to discountenance the two bills and put off completely any contemplation to pass them into Acts. “We have sufficient laws that could be used to check excesses of individuals and organisations that are misusing social media and propagating hate speeches.”
He insisted that Penal Code, Criminal Code, Cyber Crime Act and other legal provisions on crimes that deal with hate speeches, defamation, libel, and similar offenses are clear and strong enough.