President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on Friday, said he was committed to freedom of speech and the use of social media.
A statement by the Media Office of the President of the Senate on Friday quoted Saraki as responding to reports that a civil servant, Mr. Biodun Baba, was being allegedly vilified for criticising him on social media.
In a series of tweets on his personal account @BukolaSaraki, the President of the Senate, said, “I use social media, so I am a firm believer in freedom of speech and using social media to air out one’s views. This will never change.
“As governor, senator and now as @SPNigeria (Senate President), I have never attempted to stifle anyone’s freedom to speak his [or] her mind. This will not change.
“As a public servant who has subjected himself in the service of my country, I face criticisms everyday from many quarters. Criticism does not deter me from serving my country. I learn from constructive criticism. It inspires me to continue working.
“My colleagues and I will continue to work to pass legislations that will make life better for all Nigerians.”
Thirty seven-year-old Baba was on Thursday arraigned in a magistrate’s court in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital. The court is presided over by Mr. Ahmad Dasuki.
Baba, who is said to be a primary school teacher and a member of the All Progressives Congress, was accused of making uncomplimentary and inciting post on his Facebook page against Saraki.
The offences, according to the Judicial Form 2 issued by the court, were contrary to Sections 113, 114, 393, 394 of the Penal Code of Northern Nigeria and Sections 883 and 204 of the Criminal Code Act.
The complainant, Alhaji Jimoh Adesina, who is the APC Chairman for Kwara Central Senatorial District, Ilorin, accused Baba, who is of Ile Kolawole Gambari Ward 1, Ilorin East Local Government Area, of engaging in acts capable of inciting “disturbance of public peace, injurious falsehood, printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory and insult to a religion.”
He said, “Since July, 2017, the accused, through his walls on Facebook, has been inciting the public against the Kwara-Central Senatorial District representative at the upper chambers, Dr Olubukola Saraki, the incumbent Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Baba has been exerting undue influence on innocent persons which is a threat to public peace by spreading falsehood which has caused and still causing disaffection, pandemonium among the citizens of Kwara State and beyond by disparaging the person of the Senate President, the good people of Kwara-Central Senatorial District, which he represents.”