Senate denies violating freedom of speech

social mediaABUJA, (CAJ News) – THE Senate has expressed its commitment to upholding freedom of speech.

The developments follow the massive outcry over the second reading of the Anti-Frivolity Bill in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.

Senate Spokesperson, Senator Aliyu Sabi, said members of the public would have the opportunity to shape the bill’s outcome as there as an elaborate process which the bill must undergo before it became a law.

“The senate is committed to freedom of speech and a fully inclusive and participatory democracy. The process of passing a bill is comprehensive and provide for inputs to be taken from all and sundry,” said Sabi.

He said the first stage is merely to read the short title of the bill. The second stage is purely to debate the general principles.

The next stage is committal of the bill to appropriate committee or committees for further detailed legislative action where the details, intendment and clause by clause implications of the bill was dissected by the committee.

“This stage also involve public hearing in which members of the public, civil society, non-governmental organizations and all interested parties for or against the bill have the opportunity to shape and influence its content,” said Sabi.

The lawmaker explained that the Eighth Senate is conscious of its responsibility to the people and will not do anything that would stifle participation and inclusion.

“We will always ensure we pass laws which meet best practices across the world and indeed democratic scrutiny. Suggesting that the senate wants to pass a law not even practiced in China is being mischievous. This Senate is people-centred, pro-poor and participatory.”

Sabi said Senate would always act in the best interest of the citizenry.

“In this regard, we are totally committed to performing our duties and discharging our responsibilities without let or hindrance,” Sabi said.

The bill seeks to curb frivolous petitions, false allegations and statements in the social media.

– CAJ News

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