Ben Agande, Kaduna.
Panellists at a session organised by Kaduna based Non-governmental organisation, House of Justice has charged youths in the country to brace up and frustrate the passage of the Bills by the National Assembly.
The summit with the theme “Governance, Impunity & Accountability in a Populist Era” was held in Kaduna to brainstorm on the Social Media Bill which seek a Death sentence for its violators.
The bill, which had undergone second reading in the Senate has been widely condemned across all strata of the country as well as international organisations.
But it’s proponents as well as the senate under the leadership of Senator Ahmed Lawan appears to be unfazed by the widespread opposition against it.
A group of four panellists that x-rayed the provisions of the bill, as well as its implications on freedom of speech in the country during the summit, were unanimous in their verdict that the bill bore no good for the country’s democracy.
Members of the panel include Murtala Mohammed, Bella-Anne Ndubuisi, Abiodun Baiyewa and Mark Maza.
According to Murtala Muhammad, “Young people should be vigilant, concerned and build more momentum against the social media bill.”
Murtala Muhammad added that youths in the North appear to have developed a template, after the 2011 post-election crisis that prevented a crisis in 2015 and in 2019.
“If the youths in the North can do this, I think we need to have a Pan-Nigerian youth group against regional or local groups that can help in shaping Nigeria,” he said.
But in her contribution, another panellist, Bella-Anne Ndubuisi said that a lot needs to be done for the youths to take up the challenge.
“Lots of work needs to be done to re-orientate people and educate them because knowledge is power,” she said.
Another panellist, Abiodun Baiyewa said corruption is not the problem of Nigeria, but the inability to deal with the impunity with which it is committed.
“Most of the youth don’t even care to want to see the corrupt people punished because they don’t feel ownership of what was stolen” he lamented.
For the fourth panelist, Mr. Mark Amaza, Nigerian youths in the past started leadership roles in tertiary institutions from where they are prepared for the larger society, but lamented that most tertiary institutions have killed that chance as against the Student Union Government (SUG) that was obtainable through elections, now most institutions handpick representatives to lead the students.
The CEO of House of Justice/Principal Partner Move Legals, Ballason Gloria Mabeiam said that Social Media is the new village square where ideas are discussed and must not be allowed to be silenced.