FG’s Fresh Move to Regulate Social Media Sparks Controversies




The fresh move by the Federal Government to regulate social media has continued to generate controversies as netizens vow to resist any attempt aimed at muzzling freedom of speech.

Recalls that the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, on October 3, sent a bill to the National Assembly, seeking to repeal and reenact the NBC act, CAP L11 laws of the federation of Nigeria, 2004.

The bill, if passed into law, would enable NBC to regulate social media.

Speaking when he hosted Mohammed Idris, minister of information and national orientation, at the commission’s headquarters after the bill was submitted, Balarabe Ilelah, NBC Director-General, described the ills of social media as a “monster”.


“One of our major problems now is social media. Unless there is a law that allows NBC to act on social media issues, the issue will continue to be a monster in our daily lives in this country”, he said.

Subsequently, the broadcast regulator said that it had commenced engagement with major social media platforms to curb the excesses of their users.

The development has stimulated controversies amongst Nigerians who alleged that the FG was putting pressure on the social media companies to unduly restrict their fundamental human rights.

Some Nigerians antagonizing the bill opined that it was a plot by the government to restrict the rights to freedom of expression and privacy of individuals.

Reacting to NBC’s move, the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, SERAP, called on the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, to outrightly reject the bill.


According to SERAP, the bill, if passed into law, would criminalize the legitimate and lawful exercise of the human rights of Nigerians.

SERAP, in a letter signed by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said the move to regulate social media would be “inconsistent and incompatible with the provisions of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended] and the country’s international human rights obligations.”

According to SERAP, “The proposed bill raises serious concerns about the rights to freedom of expression and privacy and would lead to digital siege.”

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