Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, has warned the Nigerian government and citizens on the effects of social media and hate speech bills.
The Senate had, on Wednesday, passed for second reading a bill for an act to make provision for the protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations for and for related matters. The bill, which was sponsored by Senator Musa Mohammed Sani representing Niger East Senatorial District would restrict cyberspace falsehood against any citizen if passed into law.
Speaking on the bill, Fani-Kayode in a post on Friday said the bills were threats to democracy and freedom of speech in Nigeria.
According to him, Nigerians would suffer the consequences for many generations to come if the National Assembly passed the bills.
Fani-Kayode on his Twitter page wrote: “The Social Media Bill and the Hate Speech Bill are the greatest threats to democracy and freedom of expression in the history of Nigeria.
“If the National Assembly makes the mistake of passing either or both of these two Bills Nigerians will suffer the consequences for many generations to come and human rights, liberty and freedom will be a thing of the past in our country.
“I would urge Nigerians not to view this matter with their usual indifference, complacency, docility, stoicism, and lily-livered cowardice because the whole thing is an insidious attempt to silence their tongues, cage their spirits, capture their souls, break their ability to resist tyranny and evil and finally turn them into a nation of pliant little quislings, slaves, and errand boys.
“What we are witnessing is the final and greatest manifestation of the fascistic, totalitarian and authoritarian state which, like Hitler’s Germany, is creeping up and hiding under the guise of democracy.
“Buhari and his friends want Nigeria to be like Stalin’s Soviet Union or, better still, like today’s North Korea and Saudi Arabia where dissent, opposition to Government, plurality of views, variety of opinion, individual rights and criticism of Government policy and the maximum dictator is forbidden and where total power is concentrated in the hands of just one man. This is the classic Orwellian nightmare and it is unfolding before our very eyes.
“If they get away with it and achieve their objectives Nigeria is finished and within a matter of years, we will become the blight of Africa, the pariah of the Third World, the laughing stock of the international community and the world’s largest prison. What a terrible fate for a person that is so compliant, so trusting, so innovative, so resourceful, so resilient and so blessed.”