President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that he would not assent to any legislation that is inconsistent with the nation’s constitution and the tenets of democracy.
The President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said this in a statement in view of the public outcry that is currently trailing the Social Media Bill in the Senate.
Shehu quoted the President as reiterating his administration’s commitment to the protection of free speech in keeping with democratic tradition.
He said since Buhari has sworn to defend the constitution of Nigeria, he would not lend his hand to anything that is inconsistent with the constitution.
He said the President was fully aware of the public reservations about the proposed legislation but assured that there is no cause for alarm “because the Senate is a democratic Senate. The President won’t assent to any legislation that may be inconsistent with the constitution of Nigeria.”
The presidential spokesman however added that Buhari is not against lawful regulation that is done in consonance with the law.
“But he (the President) is not averse to lawful regulation, so long as that is done within the ambit of the constitution which he swore to uphold,” he added.
Shehu further quoted Buhari as saying that free speech is central to democratic societies anywhere in the world and that without free speech, elected representatives won’t be able to gauge public feelings and moods about governance issues.
“As a key component of democratic principles, the President acknowledged that people in democratic societies are so emotionally attached to free speech that they would defend it with all their might,” he added.

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