A bill seeking a two-year jail term for any person who makes false allegation or publishes any statement or petition in the newspaper, radio or medium of whatever description against another person,institutions of government or any public office holder, passed second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.
The bill also prescribed that anybody or group of persons who send any false text message or post false message on the social media against another person shall be jailed for two years upon conviction by the law court.
The bill, tagged: “A Bill for an Act to Prohibit frivolous Petitions and other Matters Connected therewith”, sponsored by Senator Ibn Na’Allah, APC, Kebbi South, compels petitioners to accompany their petitions with sworn court affidavit, failure of which attracts a six- month imprisonment upon conviction.
But the bill provides for an option of N4 million for persons convicted of false newspaper, radio and television statements and N2 million for offenders of false phone text messages or messages on facebook, twitter, instagram, or whatsApp.
“Where any person in order to circumvent this law makes any allegation and or publish any statement, petition in any paper, radio, or any medium of whatever description, with malicious intent to discredit or set the public against any person or group of persons, institutions of government,he shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction,shall be liable to an imprisonment term of two years or a fine of N4,000,000.00”,the bill specified.
On the social media,the bill read: “Where any person through text message,tweets, whatsApp or through any social media post any abusive statement knowing same to be false with intent to set the public against any person and group of persons, an institution of government or such other bodies established by law shall be guilty of an offence and upon conviction,shall be liable to an imprisonment for two years or a fine of N2,000,000.00 or both fine and imprisonment.”
The bill said it shall be an offence for any petition to be submitted without a sworn affidavit from the law court.