LAGOS: THE Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) have criticized plans to implement the Wire Tap Bill opposing the proposed legislation as an attempt to abuse citizens’ right to free speech and communication.
President Goodluck Jonathan has sent the bill to the National Assembly by for consideration. The bill which was muted by government last year, seeks to empower security agents to intercept and record electronic communications between individuals and track data use from internet service providers and mobile networks.
It also seeks to provide the legal and regulatory framework for the lawful interception of communications in Nigeria. Government said the bill was necessary to check the growing challenge of security in the country.
In an outright opposition to the bill, NPAN in a communiqué issued at the end of its quarterly meeting, said the bill was “ill-conceived” and was an “open invitation to arbitrariness in the country.” President of the NPAN, Nduka Obaigbena, signed the communiqué. The organisation asked the government to withdraw the “obnoxious” bill in line with its constitutional obligation to protect the rights and liberties of the citizens.
Although most of members of the public have kicked against the bill, lawmakers in the country appear adamant on passing it into law. In December, the bill scaled a second reading in the Senate. The proposal is titled, “A Bill for An Act to Provide for the Interception, Development And Protection of Communications Networks and Facilities For Public Interest And Other Related Matters, 2013.”
At the second hearing of the bill, majority of the House of Representative members supported of the bill arguing that it would benefit Nigerians and also help to check the security challenges in the country. The bill is currently before the House Committees on Communications and Justice for more input.
SOURCE: CAJ NEWS AGENCY