The Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, has assured the general public that all due justice would be done in vetting the controversial “Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill 2015”, popularly called Spy Bill. This is to ensure that an individual’s right to privacy is not in any way tampered with when the bill will eventually be passed into law.
He said this while speaking at the end of the first meeting of the fourth session of the Sixth Parliament of the Fourth Republic on Friday.
The public has so far expressed fear and concern over some portions of the Spy Bill which is about to be enacted for the purpose of fighting crime, suppressing organised crime including money laundering, terrorism, narcotic trafficking, identity theft and generally for national security.
The public is not at all comfortable with the bill. This is simply because the nature of the bill is such that when passed into law, will create a possibility of invading people’s privacy. It is because of the public outcry that Parliament is inviting memoranda from the public to enable them get their opinion on the bill before passing it into law.
However, Mr Doe Adjaho urged that whilst assessing the bill, legislators must endeavour “to navigate the fine contours of the complex constitutional and legislative maze and establish a delicate balance between the individual’s right to privacy vis-à-vis the right of the public to live in a safe and secure environment devoid of fear of crime.” According to the speaker,
In addition to pre-legislative steps already taken, Parliament will carry out its task of scrutinizing the ‘Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages Bill 2015’ in an open and transparent manner such that all stakeholders and members of the public will be given the opportunity within our rules to raise issues of concern and make inputs to the work of the House so that we can have a satisfactory and wholesome legislation enacted for the prevention or suppression of crime in the national interest.”
He also advised that the Select Committee on Defence and Interior must be given sufficient time to enable it discharge its constitutional mandate of examining the bill in detail. He also encouraged the committee to make all related and necessary enquiries as regards the Spy Bill.