CJN disagree over anti-social media bill

The Federal Ministry of Justice and Law Reform Commission have kicked against the passage of the frivolous petition bill.
They rejected the passage of the bill at the public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Hu≠man Rights and Legal Matters on Monday in Abuja.

An Assistant Director, Legal Drafting Department, Ministry of Justice, Mr Patrick Etta Oyong, said the bill
is not qualified to use in a democratically justified society.

According to him, "An affidavit is not self evident that would stand the truth of a matter which might turn out to be false. It does not have much benefit but interference with the exercise of the constitutional rights of the citizens."Ě

The Nigeria Law Reform Commissioner, Chibueze Okorie, condemned the bill as unnecessary
He said, "We are not able to support this bill. We have looked at the specific positions of the bill vis-a-vis existing law.

"This is too wide and may interfere with investigation in Nigeria even in MDAs especially in the case of Ni≠geria where we have largely illiterate population; people may not make report and there are few high courts in the country. This might interfere with the freedom of the people to bring the activities of people to law enforcement agencies.

In her submission, a representative of Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and a Jus≠tice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Clara Ogunbiyi, said the intent of the bill is to make it mandatory for investigations and inquest to be accompanied by affidavit. She said, "The aim of the bill is to ensure that the public is given the correct information, free of bias, sentiment and ill motivation and also to ensure that objective opinions should prevail always.

The principle behind the bill is to safe-guard innocent individuals, corporate or governmental bodies against false accusations that could have lasting and damaging effects on their integrity and performance.

The menace of incessant frivolous petitions in our nation, if not addressed and nipped in the bud, will constitute a very serious clog in the wheel of our democratic process."Ě
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, promised that the National Assembly would not pass any bill that would gag the media or infringe on the rights of the citizenry as we make laws to deepen them.

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