No plan to review social media regulation bill - Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio

Senate President Godswill Akpabio: No plan to review social media regulation bill

By Jessica Dogo

Senate President Godswill Akpabio says the 10th National Assembly will not review the social media regulation bill since there are already laws guiding the use of the media.

Akpabio was represented by the Senate Committee Chairman on ICT, Sen. Shuiab Salisu, at the Parliamentarian Symposium of the Africa Internet Governance Forum (AIGF), hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Tuesday in Abuja.

The theme of the programme is “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security, and Innovation”.

He said that the theme was a reflection of the deepest yearnings of all Africans for concerted efforts to keep in step with the rest of the world in the ICT race.

Akpabio said, “I am not sure that there is going to be a specific bill on social media regulation. However, there are emailing laws in various areas; social media is just one space.

“So, rather than having specific legislation on social media, I would rather say social media is just one platform. The same way people have used regular media platforms to commit libel.”

Speaking on the youthful age of the African population, he said: “Africa may have missed out on the first, second, and third industrial revolutions, but the fourth is based on digital competence and knowledge systems.

“Africa is in a position to lead this digital revolution.

“I think a lot of things are happening that we need to also create awareness among the citizens.

“I will work together with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to drive an agenda that will ensure our country, Nigeria, begins the trajectory to greatness using technology as an enabler to regulate the social future.”

Akpabio said that this reality had compelled the convocation to seek ways to develop, apply, and arrive at shared norms, rules, decision-making procedures, and other activities that would impact the evolution and utilisation of the internet.

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The Secretary General of the AIGF, Hon. Samuel George, a member of the Ghanaian Parliament who spoke on internet governance in Africa, said that governments on the African continent were doing a fantastic job when it came to the processes of digitalization.

George said that people would like politicians to focus more on bricks and physical infrastructure than putting more resources into digital rights.

He added: “We are seeing a lot more government services becoming digitalized; social services, government services, health care, and justice are becoming digital platforms.

“The West African subregion, Nigeria, is a big leader in that, so we believe that governments are doing well.

“As a politician, I know that we have challenges, and that is one of the things we reach out to the media about: that citizens need to understand the value of digital infrastructure.

“If politicians come in and say that they have passed a digital rights bill to the citizens, they have not done anything, but when they build a hospital, they have done something.

“So those are the things that influence the decisions that politicians make.”

According to George, instead of putting more resources into digital rights, which affect everything done online now, the focus is rather placed on bricks and physical infrastructure.

He said, “So, you help us raise the issues of digital rights and digital frameworks.

“You are talking about legislation, creating safe spaces on the internet, and making sure that governments have the right framework for internet problems and the safety of citizens digital rights.”


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