One of my greatest understanding in life is my realization of the fact that laws are not made to do anything other than to protect the group of people who make them, and the bosses of those who make them, and the people who are in association with those who make them, and not really to protect the people’s lives and properties as it always seems (or should always be), and the fact that any law—no matter how self-explanatory it is—could still be interpreted in another way just to have somebody caught up in its web. The laws always work in a way comparable to how the webs of spiders work against flies; the small flies enter them and get caught up, the big flies enter the webs and ruin them.
There have been so many laws that have been made in Nigeria that only sound people-centric in papers, but when it comes to execution, they are absolutely anti-people, and this is what the popularly called Social Media Bill will end up being too. Yes, I said will end up being because I am very sure sooner or later, the bill will be passed and assented to law. The bill will become law eventually! This is not the first time a bill like this has been sponsored for debate, and if this time it doesn’t pass, it will surely not be the last time it will be sponsored. The bill will always come up for debate in the houses of lawmakers, so long the social media still allows for the people to talk so much—the only thing the people know how to do more effectively. Since the burst of the use of the social medias, it has been shown that the Nigerian people are people of rants and banters; they just want to shout about it or make a joke about it no matter what is going right or wrong. Even if they can’t and will never take any further action about it, they want to at least be able to make noise about it. Bringing the Social Media Bill to this light, it would allow anyone see how the bill will end up taking from the people the only things they do—rants and banters.
Nigerians are not generally partisan politically; in fact their level of political apathy is beyond child’s play. Nigerians don’t protest, they don’t even care about how their society is run nor about the policies their government is making nor how the government is administering their society. These days, they practically do nothing better than sit on their toilet seats and post banters or lie in their beds or sit in their cushions and post rants about everything; Nigerians don’t act or do anything other than posting and spreading. Now, if we have some kind of law that in a way censors what the people can post, just imagine how drastically that is going to stop a lot of people from talking at all because of the fears of saying something wrong and ending up paying a fine or ending up in jail. Mind you, you can barely have a thing that—if it needs to be used against you—can’t be interpreted as wrong.
It is easy—while the bill is undergoing debates—to think when it becomes law, it is going to pick defaulters based on how the law sounds, but we all know how the laws work. This one law would be so powerful it would be able to pick anyone they are not happy with has a defaulter. Why? Because there will always be the grey areas in the interpretation of this law. Right now, it sounds like the Social Media Bill is meant to curb the spread of falsehood, but most of rants and banters are firstly based on false and incomplete news, it is when these news pose challenges to the people concerned that the truth starts to come out. The lawmakers and their bosses and friends don’t like being dragged to tell the truth because something not-so-true has been said about them and their actions. The government does not like it when their “Highly Classified” issues are now in the public for social debate and criticism, and to curb that is why the Social Media Bill is oncoming. Everyone is about to end up tweeting just pictures! And this is very good for democracy.
Olusegun Peters is a businessman, an investor and a scholar. He is the founder of primerinfotech.com and pec-ng.com. He is passionate about contributing his knowledge to impacting as many people as possible one person at a time. Read more about Olusegun Peters here