Reps to Strengthen Defamation Legislation – Abbas

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, says the green chamber will strengthen legislation against defamation, character assassination and cyberbullying.

He made this known on Thursday at a press conference on pressing national issues held at Conference Room 301, the National Assembly, Abuja.

Abbas said the intention of the legislation is not to stifle free speech but to protect the dignity of individuals and institutions against cyber-attacks.

The Speaker said Nigerians must be wary of slander against officials of government, stressing that unscrupulous persons have, of late, launched campaigns of calumny against top government officials.

Abbas cited his predecessor and current Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, as one of the many victims of cyberbullying, defamation and character assassination.

The Speaker said cyberbullying is punishable, according to Section 375 of the Criminal Code Act, and Section 24 of the Cybercrime Prohibition and Prevention Act (2015).

“In view of the above, the House intends to strengthen libel, slander and defamation legislation,” Abbas said in a room crowded by journalists and some legislators.

“In this regard, to avoid being misquoted, or quoted out of context, I wish to make it categorically clear that the House has no intention to stifle free speech. Instead, our objective is to protect the dignity of individuals and the integrity of public discourse.

“We will ensure that these laws are balanced, and provide the room for healthy criticism while safeguarding individuals and institutions from malicious and unfounded attacks,” he said.

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