The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, says the 10th National Assembly will not review the social media regulation bill since there are laws already guiding the use of the media.
Akpabio said this at the Parliamentarian Symposium of Africa Internet Governance Forum held on Tuesday in Abuja.
The Forum, at which the former two-term Akwa Ibom State Governor was represented by the Senate Committee Chairman on ICT, Senator Shuiab Salisu, was hosted by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
The theme of the programme was: “Transforming Africa’s Digital Landscape: Empowering Inclusion, Security, and Innovation.”
The President of the Senate said the theme was a reflection of the deepest yearnings of all Africans for concerted efforts to keep in step with the rest of the world in the ICT race.
Akpabio said: “I am not sure that there is going to be a specific bill on social media regulation.
“However, there are emailing laws in various areas.
“Social media is just one space.
“So, rather than having a specific legislation on social media, I will rather say social media is just one platform.
“The same way people have used regular media platform to commit libel.”
Speaking on the youthful age of the African population, Akpabio said: “Africa may have missed out in the first, second and third Industrial Revolutions, but the fourth is based on digital competence and knowledge system.
“Africa is placed in position to lead this digital revolution.
“I think a lot of things are happening that we need to also create awareness among the citizens.
“I will work together with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to drive an agenda that will ensure our country, Nigeria, begins the trajectory to greatness using technology as an enabler to regulate social future.”
Akpabio said this reality had compelled convocation to seek ways to develop, apply and arrive at shared norms, rules, decision-making procedures and other activities that would impact on the evolution and utilisation of the internet.
The Secretary General of the AIGF, Hon. Samuel George, member of the Ghanaian Parliament, who spoke on internet Governance in Africa, said Governments on the African continent were doing a fantastic job when it comes to the processes of digitalisation.
George said people would like politicians to focus more on bricks and physical infrastructure than putting in more resources into digital rights.
He added: “We are seeing a lot more government services becoming digitalised: social services, government services, health care, justice are becoming digital platforms.
“In the West African sub region, Nigeria is a big leader in that.
“So we believe that governments are doing well.
“As a politician, I know that we have challenges and that is one of the things we reach out to the media that citizens need to understand the value of digital infrastructure.
“If politicians come in and say that they have passed a digital rights bill to the citizens, they have not done anything, but when they build a hospital, they have done something.
“So those are the things that influence the decisions that politicians make.”
According to George, instead of putting in more resources into digital rights, which affect everything done online now, focus is rather placed on bricks and physical infrastructure.
He added: “So, you help us to raise the issues of digital rights and digital frameworks.
“You are talking about legislation and creating safe spaces on the internet and making sure that governments have the right framework for internet problems and the safety of citizens digital rights.”