The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters on Friday has agreed to fix a date for a public hearing on the controversial Social Media Regulation Bill 2019 next week.
This is coming barely four days after the social media bill passed second reading on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Senate committee, Opeyemi Bamidele, in an exclusive interview with Punch on Friday said notice would be given to the relevant stakeholders because of the interests the bill had generated.
The essence of the bill is to make provisions for protection from Internet falsehood and manipulations and other related matters.
Although the Nigerian Bar Association and human rights lawyers, especially senior advocates of Nigeria, and sociopolitical groups on Friday vowed to storm the public hearing to present their views on the obnoxious bill.
The anti-social media bill, the legislation is being sponsored by the Senator representing Niger East District, Sani Musa.
Bamidele hinted that his panel would hold meetings with the sponsor of the bill, and the leadership of the National Assembly before convening the public hearing.
Our source gathered that, only a former governor of Enugu State, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, spoke against the passage of the bill during the debate on its general principles.
Another Senator, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah also raised a constitutional point of order to draw the Senate’s attention to the fact that the passage of the bill would be in conflict with certain provisions of the constitution.
However, senators Ibrahim Gobir, Elisha Abbo and Abba Moro, in their various contributions, supported the bill during the debate that lasted about 10 minutes.
The Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, put the passage of the bill for a second reading to a voice vote after confirming that no senator was ready to speak against it.
The majority of the lawmakers in the chamber unanimously voted in support of the bill and it was read the second time.
The senate president referred the bill to the judiciary and human rights panel for further legislative action.
The bill, if signed into law, among others prescribed a three-month jail term and a fine up to N10m for individuals or corporate firms that run afoul of its provisions.
But the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), said on Friday that the NBA would attend the public hearing on the anti-social media bill.
Usoro said the association was making efforts to get a copy of the bill to study it and take a position.