Aisha Buhari, wife of the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari has come under severe attack from Nigerians for supporting the ‘Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation bill’, popularly known as the Social Media Bill.
The social media bill which has since passed second reading at the floor of the senate has been generating a lot of controversies.
Sponsored by Senator Muhammad Sani Musa, the bill, among other things seeks to regulate social media and prevent the spread of fake news.
Many critics of the bill believe that the bill seeks to take away the freedom of expression the 1999 Constitution gave to the citizens.
However, the First Lady while speaking at the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs General Assembly and National Executive Council meeting held at the National Mosque, Abuja, on Friday, said, she believed that when the bill is passed into law, it would do more good than harm. According to her, if China with about 1.3 billion people had done so, it should not be difficult for Nigeria with about 180 million people to do the same.
“On this issue of social media, you cannot just sit in the comfort of your house and tweet that the Vice President has resigned. It is a serious issue. If China can control over 1.3bn people on social media, I see no reason why Nigeria cannot attempt controlling only 180m people,” she had said.
The statement has since generated a lot of negative reviews from Nigerians on social media; especially on Twitter.
Here are some of such reactions:
While some of the reactions were sarcastic and even downright rude…
— Chukwuemeka (@BalanceSpot) November 30, 2019
— Christabel🍒 (@Faustynowilson) November 30, 2019
Someone please tell #Aishabuhari that d food she left on fire to talk nonsense is burning and that the oza room is in a mess.
She had better face her real work before Daura helps her arrange her house with a second wife for Booharry. This time, e no go be audio wife. pic.twitter.com/S0y0tTpVOP
— Zikora (@ZDooshima) November 30, 2019
Many of the reactions on Twitter simply pointed out the difference between Nigeria and China (a democratic state and a communist one), and the poor comparison of both countries.
Democracy is different from communist.before you compare @aishabuhari you check d system of government, you check d level of corruption, you check the level of development, don't tell me china control 1.3billion on social media therefore naija should follow them ba.#Aishabuhari pic.twitter.com/4g97rcsXwj
— Ikegwuonu chidimma @urunwa_art (@IkegwuonuChidi3) November 30, 2019
For once today, I regret not leaving this country when the opportunity came calling 🤦🏽♂️#Aishabuhari really should go back to the kitchen pls!
Comparing the policies of a Unitary govt with a (vast political parties) Democratic govt is quite absurd!
— ? (@SirlibertyEbuka) November 30, 2019
Nigeria is NOT a one party state like China, or a Kingdom like the gulf nations who regulate information consumed by their people in order to keep the descent of leadership in check. This is antithetical to a democracy where descent is encouraged #aishabuhari
— Bakrshah (@Bakrshah1) November 30, 2019
Given the foregoing, it may be safe to say that the negative reactions and #SayNoToSocialMediaBill campaign trailing the infamous bill is best summed up in the tweet below:
Are you serious right now, Nigerians are not stupid, neither are we cowards, we are a peace loving people, the government is pushing us to a point where we have to turn and fight. #Aishabuhari
— ThatbeautifulShortdeltagirlinlagos (@ThatbeautifulS) November 30, 2019