President Muhammadu Buhari’s wife, Aisha, has thrown her weight behind the proposed legislation to regulate social media.
Naija News understands that protesters had stormed the National Assembly and some Nigerian cities, demanding the immediate withdrawal of the Hate Speech and Social Media bills.
The consideration of the bills has not gone down well with many Nigerians, most of whom suspect that their rights, clearly tied to section 39 of Nigeria’s 1999 Constitution (as amended), could be abridged.
Many Nigerians are worried as freedom of expression is recognized as a fundamental human right and enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and other global pacts.
Speaking on Friday at the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) general assembly meeting in Abuja, Aisha Buhari said China has been able to control the use of social media for its 1.3 billion population.
She added that the federal government of Nigeria has no reason why it cannot “control 180 million citizens”.
“On this issue of social media, you cannot just sit in the comfort of your house and tweet that the Vice President has resigned. It is a serious issue,” Aisha said.
“If China can control over 1.3 billion people on social media, I see no reason why Nigeria cannot attempt controlling only 180 million people.”
Aisha Buhari also lamented that citizens do not have access to basic amenities.
“We should either fasten our seatbelt or do the needful or we will all regret it very soon because, at the rate things are going, things are getting completely out of hand,” she said.
“The VP (Yemi Osinbajo) is here, some ministers are here, they are supposed to do justice to the situation.
“People cannot afford potable water in this country while we have governors. Since this is the highest decision-making body of Islamic affairs, for those that are listening, we should fear God, and we should know that one day, we will return to God and account for our deeds here on earth.”