The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Tuesday kicked against the Social Media and Hate Speech bills, describing them as attempts to “maim Nigerians freedom of expression and country’s democracy”.
The bills, according to the association are “ways for the Nigerian government to clamp down critics of their anti- human policies and acts”.
The National Publicity Secretary of NANS, Azeez Adeyemi during a press conference in Abeokuta, the Ogun State, said, the bills are tactical moves by the government “to shut the ordinary man, youths and the journalist to pave way for impunity.”
According to him, if the proposed legal frameworks are allowed to pass, the government will be vested with the sole power to determine what an hate speech is, and as a result witch – hunts opponents and even journalists.
Adeyemi alleged that already, a number of students are being harassed with police men by lawmakers while the bills have not been finally passed.
He said a student in the Department of Science and Technology Education, Bayero University, Yahuza Tijjani has been held in prison custody over a Facebook post allegedly against a member of the State Assembly.
Adeyemi called on the said Hon. Kabiru Is’mail to as a matter of urgency release Tijjani within the next 72 hours or “join the list of enemies of our students as we are ready to fight any oppressor to stand still on this issue.
“There is no doubt that the Nigerian government is all out to clamp down on critics of their anti human policies and acts. However, any government going this way, is gradually moving toward anarchy, a point Nigerian students will resist with every strength we have.
“Even when the social media bill is yet to be passed into law, lawmakers are beginning to witch – hunt our students who talk about their anti masses behaviours on social media.
“It should be noted that only students/elite could identify most of these wicked act of politicians as some of them pose to be good intentions even when they meant the opposite,” he said.