The senate on Wednesday, December 2 2015 denied passing a bill proposing two years jail term for social media users.
This was contained in a press statement signed by Bamikole Omisore, the Special Assistant on New Media to the President of The Senate.
The statement read that the bill titled An Act to Prohibit Frivolous Petitions and Other Related Matters makes no mention of jailing social media users.
It also read that the bill seeks to make illegal, the common act of individuals sponsoring frivolous petitions to tarnish or blackmail public servants or political office holders for selfish purposes.
According to the statement, the bill sponsored by Bala Ibn Na’ Allah (Kebbi state) seeks to make it a requirement for petitioners to depose to an affidavit in court which will must be attached to any petition.
The statement read in part: “Where such petition is discovered to be frivolous, or mischievous or the fact there in are false, the proposed bill makes it a case of perjury which is an offense under the law.
“The Deputy Senate leader in his submission expressed concern that with such frivolous petitions, the right of an individual to be presumed innocent until proven guilty by a competent court, would have eroded such presumption of innocence as these petitions lead to media trials that hampers the rule of law.
“In the developed societies and in particular, the US, if one files a petition with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other government agency, aimed at defaming someone, ruining their reputation or family and such petition is discovered to be false, such a person will be held liable and would pay dearly for it.
“One can only imagine that if countries allowed dishonest elements to file petitions against their opponents without having to hold them accountable, this will amount to impunity.”
However, there have been reports that the bill which scaled second reading on Wednesday, December 2 2015 seeks to to censor social media.
According to reports, the bill seeks to give two years imprisonment or N2 million fine for Nigerians who post abusive statements on the social media.