Nigeria’s problems are beyond whatever happens on social media, so it makes no sense for the social media bill which is designed to stifle the voices of Nigerians – to be passed into law. Of course this bill has been rightly met with so much friction and it begs questions like these: Is the death penalty really necessary for people complaining about the state of things? Is gagging what people have to say online really a priority right now for our law makers?
Everybody likes to quote the constitution “as amended” and in that wave, the constitution provides for the promotion of free speech and association but in Nigeria this is slowly fizzling out.
For a long time now, Nigerians have had to come to terms with the harsh realities of being Nigerians and on social media, stories of how difficult it is being a Nigerian are rife and now the government wants to take away the only thing Nigerians can really do- which is to complain. In Nigeria, any sane person would suggest to the government that attention needs to shift from enforcing punitive measures against the citizens but towards a more progressive movement for change. However the government seems to be moving in the opposite direction engaging in heavy propaganda and trying to shield the malaise in the country from world view.
Look at the case of the borders that have been closed for some months now, the barring of movement in and out, which basically means no businesses can be done hassle free. This austerity measures have put Nigerians under stress and in a typical reaction to stress, the citizens can only but complain. Customs recently announced how much more they were raking in as revenue since the closure of the borders but is that necessarily a good thing when the prices of essential commodities have gone up?
To be fair on Nigerians, the government has to quit being so heavy handed and really look at what the complaints of Nigerians which is basically all they do on social media. If the government tries to place an embargo on free speech especially on social media, how can they get a feel of what is bothering the citizens if they really care so much?