A Nigerian senator who allegedly plagiarized Singapore’s Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act (POFMA) has said that the similarities between his draft bill and POFMA, which took effect on October 2, is because the two bills have a common subject matter.
Accusations that Senator Sani Musa had copied Singapore’s law against online falsehoods made the rounds on Nigeria’s social media platforms on Saturday, November 23, with copies of POFMA shared on these platforms showing that the title and contents of Mr Musa’s bill were very similar to its Singaporean predecessor.
Mr Musa’s bill, entitled the Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulations Bill and also known as the anti-social media bill, is undergoing debate in Nigeria’s National Assembly at present.
One criticism came from Frederick Odorige of the Global Coalition for Security Democracy, who said that Mr Musa had “ingeniously substituted the word ‘online’ as used by the Parliament of Singapore for ‘Internet.’”
The senator took to Twitter to defend himself, and his media unit also issued a statement concerning the matter.
Mr Musa wrote,
“The similarity between our draft Bill to make provisions for protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulations and for other related matters with the Singaporean Statute on the same subject.
It is posterous (sic) that this is said to be an instance of plagiarism. All over the world, Legislation in other Jurisdictions do influence the form and substances in other jurisdictions, particularly and Present the same or similar challenges of regulation.
It is therefore INEVITABLE THAT LESSONS BE DRAWN FROM OTHER JURISDICTIONS IN FASHIONING OUT WORKABLE SOLUTIONS IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.
Legislations across the globe are PUBLIC DOCUMENTS and National LEGISLATIONS DO NOT CLAIM RIGHT OVER THEM AS TO FORM THE BASIS FOR PLAGIARISM OVER THEM, their effectiveness being limited to the territorial jurisdiction of each sovereignty. – Sen. Sani Musa 313”
The statement from Mr Musa’s media unit reiterated his points on Twitter, and added, “The general public are therefore kindly advised not to heed to the jejune attempt by uninformed mischief-makers going round distorting what is clearly a no issue. Laws are universal templates adopted and domesticated to fit pecularities (sic).”
However, according to Mr Odorige, the country already has such a bill in place, and Mr Musa’s proposed bill is not needed. He added, “It is unnecessary to duplicate a law which is already under an existing cyber crime (prohibition, prevention, etc.) law passed during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2015.”
Furthermore, a news report from Sahara Reporters says that the Nigerian Senate is actually working on yet another law, one that is against hate speech and a commission that will be known as the “National Commission for the Prohibition of hate Speeches,” to be sponsored by Niger State’s Abdullah Ali Sabi, who is the current Deputy Child Whip of the Senate. -/TISG