Lagos - The controversial bill that seeks seeking to empower government and security agencies to monitor and track phone communications and internet interaction has passed second reading at the Nigerian House of Representatives.
Although members of the public, human rights groups and civil society have spoken out against the legal instrument, lawmakers in the country appear adamant on passing the bill into law.
At the second hearing of the bill on Wednesday, majority of the House of Representative members were in support of the bill arguing that it would benefit Nigerians and also help check the security challenges in the country.
A member of the House representing APC, Lagos, Femi Gbajabiamila said the bill would help to regulate text messages and e-mail conversations being monitored by people as well as provide security for individuals.
The lawmaker expressed concern that people were sometimes subjected to blackmail and kidnapping through the unauthorized tapping of telephone lines.
Other lawmakers supporting the bill also argued that the bill was about the well being of Nigerians and corporate existence of the country.
The ruling People’s Democratic Party’s Delta representative, Ossai Ossai, however argued that the proposed legislation was “contaminated” and should be thrown out.
Following Wednesday’s deliberations, the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, referred it to the Committees on Communications and Information Technologies and Justice for more input.
If passed into law, it would allow government law enforcement agents to filter and tap into communications.
Last month, the bill also passed second reading in the upper legislative chamber, 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.”
– CAJ News