Nigerians, it’s time to get your neighbours and friends “out” and riled up. We must draw the “line in the sand” and demand to know why the senate wants us to do nothing, say nothing, write nothing and go along with every assault on our freedom. Democracy is under attack. We shouldn’t sit back and allow the haters of free speech achieve their aim. No election will change this. I repeat! No election will change this.
Do you realise that only 10 per cent of the national assembly changes in any election? That means that most of these “no good” lawmakers are assured of being returned to their posh power positions. It could change but their controlled media won’t let that happen. That is exactly why they are trying to put a gag on social media.
Laws are only good if you have “honest” legislators who are willing to defend what is in the constitution. When the media and the lawmakers act in unison, acting against what is our most basic “rights”, we are in trouble.
It means, once the anti democracy bill is passed, all bloggers and website owners will be ordered by the government to divulge personal information on article comments. The government will also issue a gag order preventing you from revealing what they’re up to. It means nobody can talk about Dino Melaye’s many exotic cars and issues. This gag order will even prohibit us from talking about the gag order. Meaning “You can’t even respond when someone asks you a question about the gag order. Wow! Nigeria is about to change from “the land flowing with milk and honey” to “the land flowing with mutes and dumbos.”
This is precisely what happens when you vote the wrong people into office.
The senators know their action will be an outrageous abuse of power, something any of us could be subject to, dare we utter words which they and other government overlords don’t approve of.
Before I go any further, let’s be clear on how this gag can touch any of us. Imagine you write an article that Senator Saraki dislikes, all he needs to do is get his lawyers to take a look at the comments section, find the ever-present crazy comments, and under the pretext that they’re “threats to his life”, issue a subpoena against you. Then, you’re forced, “at serious financial cost and disruption of your business, to dance to a tune played by the twisted long arm of the law.” And the result is a one way ticket to Kirikiri.
Bloggers, they want you to stop talking about Saraki, and Dino Melaye and whatever the lawmakers find “sensitive.” Or perhaps you should even eliminate your comments section, in which case the average citizen loses his voice.
In other words, the senators are saying, “Yeah, you have freedom of speech — *wink*, *laughs*. And you can exercise it in a way we don’t like. But it will cost you.” Free speech isn’t free when you have to pay for it.
Nigerians, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the senators are done after gagging social media. They will come for our rights to oxygen or even ask us to pay for it. Already, our right to assemble peacefully and effectively is prevented in practice by the need to secure permits and other hindrances.
Something the senators have failed to grasp is that we are tired of their uselessness. This is a total case of misplaced priority. They better find a way to start thinking right. I don’t know what secrets they are trying to hide as “public servants.” It is no rocket science to know that once you are a public servant, there is no longer any secrecy to protect.
The bottom-line is, this whole gagging of social media issue is just the government trying to remain shrouded in secrecy and make it impossible for the Nigerian public to engage in a meaningful debate on the effectiveness or wisdom of various government policies.
“And chew on these senators,” you guys shouldn’t waste your idle time debating whether to gag social media or not. Go ahead and pass the bill into law. After all, various media outfits are already receiving government threats daily. And most of these threats are carried out without anyone knowing anything about them because they are typically done under the radar, so that the public have no idea what is happening until it’s too late. How many journalists have been arrested, molested and killed? Senators, your social media gag is nothing new to us. If you all can be frank with yourselves, how much valid information should we be denied because of your fear of being exposed for your sins?
Of course, you guys are going to wrap this whole madness around the same crap known here as process. This means, the courts will soon be buzzing with lots of ceremonial trials. What is more stupid is that the lawmakers’ legal army is funded with our tax money. Maybe we should start counting the victims of this impending gag order, as our senators are becoming more morally bankrupt daily.