OrderPaperToday – The Nigeria Law Reform Commission has joined the growing legion of stakeholders kicking against the Frivolous Petitions (Prohibition) Bill.
At the public hearing on the bill at the senate Monday, the commission said the bill was unnecessary as it would hamper whistle blowing against corruption in the country.
The bill now commonly referred to as the Social media bill because of its targeting of social media platforms and users, seeks jail terms or fines or both for persons who allegedly spreads falsehood on social media.
But speaking at the hearing, Mr. Chibueze Okorie who represented the Law reform Commission said the bill was ambiguous, open-ended, and punitive of whistle blowers.
He said words such as investigation, inquest, inquiry used in the bill were so open ended which implied that even oral statement must be accompanied by an affidavit.
He said with such vague provision, internal investigation by government agencies may be hampered as persons will no longer be able to report crimes or corruption within the office.
“The requirement of going to high court is erroneous, whistle blowing will be seriously hampered by the bill and if this government is promoting anti corruption the people must be encouraged to report.
“It is within the discretion of enforcement agency to know if a complaint is frivolous or not. People should be allowed to make their report and leave the agencies to use their discretion to know if the laws are frivolous or not.
“The position of the commission is that it inhibit the discretion of law enforcement agencies: If we feel the law enforcement agencies are not doing their job, we should look at making them do their job.”
An online publisher, Mr. Anthony Eyilebo, who also spoke at the hearing also corroborated the views of earlier speakers stressing that a lot of Nigerians were against the bill.
He said that over 15 million Nigerians on social media shared the hashtag #SayNoToAntiSocialMediaBill to register their displeasure with the bill.
Other social activists who spoke also kicked against the bill.