Reps to strengthen libel, slander laws in Nigeria

Lawmakers propose 32 additional federal varsities

The House of Representatives has promised to strengthen libel and slander laws in the country to protect the dignity of Nigerians against unjustified personality attacks.

The Speaker of the House, Tajudeen Abbas, said this at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja.

“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,” he said.

He said the House would ensure that laws were balanced, providing room for healthy and constructive criticism while safeguarding individuals and institutions from malicious and unfounded attacks.

“While we encourage freedom of expression and constructive dialogue, we must also be wary of the dangers of fake news and campaigns of slander and defamation,” he said.

He added that comments, especially against the President and senior government officials, had to be constructive and objective, free from slander and defamation.

He said there had been a rise in defamation campaigns on social media involving the deliberate dissemination of false and misleading information with the intent to harm the reputation of individuals or organisations.

“These campaigns often target political opponents, seeking to undermine their credibility, integrity, and public trust,” he said.

He said the recent attacks on the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, were the consequence of unfettered and unaccountable social media.

Such acts, according to him, not only undermined the integrity of the nation’s democracy but also eroded the fabric of national unity.

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