The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says citing fake news as reason behind moves by the All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration to regulate social media is not tenable.
The opposition party in a Wednesday statement while rejecting moves to regulate the free speech said this is because there are already laws to tackle dissemination of false information.
Its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, said the move is targeted at silencing dissenting voices, a claim reiterated by Nigerians and civil society organisations among others who have jointly rejected the initiative.
Lai Mohammed, information minister said President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has resolved to go ahead and regulate free speech as leaving it unchecked endangers the country’s unity.
The party also described the move as unconstitutional, anti-people and a suppressive design to asphyxiate Nigerians.
“The PDP asserts that the renewed frenzy to censor the social media is ostensibly targeted at muzzling outspoken Nigerians, particularly the youths, media and civil society organizations, from demanding for accountability and competence, as well as exposing the widespread corruption, unbridled treasury looting, barefaced injustice, human right abuses, constitutional violations and divisive actions of the APC administration,” the party wrote.
“Our party rejects the claims that the regulation bill is targeted at checking fake news. This is because our nation already has enough implementable laws to counter the dissemination of fake news and punish offenders.
“It is clear that the APC administration is rather xenophobic of criticisms from citizens against its manifest atrocities that it seeks to surreptitiously reenact the obnoxious military decree 4 to suppress Nigerians.
“Instead of this desperation to gag the citizens and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed rights, our party counsels the APC administration to rather take steps to reassure Nigerians by ending its manifest corruption, treasury looting, abuse of human rights, nepotism and unaccountability for which the citizens demands answers,” the statement partly read.