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‘We need food, not a social media law’

Feelings are running high in Nigeria at the moment over two bills currently before parliament, known as the Hate Speech and Social Media bills.

Activists took their objections to the National Assembly, where they are being debated.

The protest in the capital, Abuja, is part of a series of rallies to be held across the country.

Activists say the bills will suppress freedom of expression, which is guaranteed by the constitution.


They also say there are already sufficient laws dealing with some of the issues contained in the bills.

Rights group Human Rights Watch has said that the social media bill will prohibit statements deemed “likely to be prejudicial to national security” and “those which may diminish public confidence” in Nigeria’s government.

It fears the bill creates “vague criminal offences that would allow the authorities to prosecute peaceful criticism of the government”.

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One demonstrator, Maurin Kabrik, told the BBC’s Ishaq Khalid that there were more important issues for the government to worry about.

“We need security, we need food. People are hungry, people are dying, these bills are not what is important right now,” she said.

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