By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on Nigerians, including the media, organized civil society and all pro-democracy groups, to unite against moves to pass the obnoxious anti-social media bill at the National Assembly.
The PDP equally urged the leadership of the National Assembly to resist all pressure from those who do not love Nigeria to pass this unconstitutional and anti-people bill.
The party made the call yesterday in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan in Abuja.
The leading opposition party predicated its call on what it called “the decision by the Senate to commence a public hearing on the bill, which is being pushed by anti-democratic individuals in the Buhari Presidency”, who seek to gag Nigerians, suspend our constitutional provision of free speech and foist a dictatorial system on our country.
The PDP said it is time for Nigerians to eschew all political, sectional and religious differences and stand in unity against a bill that is clearly designed to suppress and silence the people, emasculate institutions of democracy, particularly the media, take away the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech of citizens and turn them into conquered people without a voice, in their own country.
According to the party, “It is clear that this bill is part of the anti-democratic moves to further emasculate the 1999 Constitution (as amended) ostensibly as a prelude to foisting a full totalitarianism in our country, where citizens will no longer have the right to freely hold or support opinions.
“It is obvious that the reason for this bill is to suppress democratic rights and prevent Nigerians, the media, civil society groups, pro-democracy organizations, the opposition and dissenting voices from freely criticizing the atrocities, abuses, incompetence, corruption, security compromises, nepotism and general misrule that have pervaded the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration.
“The frenzy to pass this bill further exposes the intolerance of the Buhari-led administration as well as the desperation to cover its atrocities for which it is mortally afraid of public criticisms”, it said.
The PDP expressed worry that the Senate listed the unconstitutional and anti-people bill for second reading procedures even when Nigerians across board had reached a consensus in rejecting the bill, given its underlying fascist intendments.
The party held that “our nation already has appropriate laws guiding the boundaries of free speech and opinion, which the authorities can enforce within the ambits of constitutional provisions, in the case of any violation”.
Continuing, it said, “Our party insists that Nigeria is a democratic state governed by the provisions of our Constitution.” Our citizens will therefore not allow any attempt by anybody to foist fascist laws tailored to suppress their rights and freedom as a people”, it stressed.
The PDP therefore urged the leadership of the National Assembly to resist all pressure from “enemies of our democracy” to pass this unconstitutional and anti-people bill.