africa

Senator defends plagiarism allegation


Sunday Aborisade, Abuja

 The sponsor of the Protection from Internet Falsehoods and Manipulations bill, also known as anti-social media bill, Senator Sani Musa, on Sunday defended the allegations of plagiarism levelled against him.

Musa, through his twitter handle, explained that the similarity between his draft bill and the Singaporean statute on the same subject was in order.

A copy of the Singaporean legislation on the same subject matter, which surfaced on social media on Saturday, suggested that the title and most of the contents of Musa’s bill currently undergoing debate at the National Assembly was the same.

Social media commentators alleged that the senator’s bill was allegedly copied from an act, which was recently signed into law by Singapore.

For instance, a video broadcast released by Frederick Odonge of the Global Coalition for Security Democracy, stated that the title of the bill was copied from the Protection from Online Falsehoods and Manipulation Act 2019 of the Republic of Singapore.

He said the Act was passed by the Singaporean Parliament on May 8, 2019 and assented to by their President, Halimah Yacob, on June 3, 2019.

In the title of the bill, Odonge alleged that Musa “ingeniously substituted the word ‘online’ as used by the Parliament of Singapore for ‘Internet’.”

The other parts of the title and most of the other contents of the bill, according to him, were exactly the same with that of the Singaporeans.

Odonge said,  “It is unnecessary to duplicate a law, which is already under an existing cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) law passed during the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan in May 2015.”

But defending his action, Musa said, “It is preposterous that this is said to be an instance of plagiarism.

“All over the world, legislation in other jurisdictions does influence the form and substances in other jurisdictions.  Examples of these abound in Company Law Reforms, Trade Mark Legislations and Securities Regulations across the globe.

“The problems and challenges of regulating internet activities cut across jurisdictions.”

 He said it was inevitable that lessons be drawn from other jurisdictions in fashioning out workable solutions in the 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.”

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