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Why Hate Speech Bill Will Consume Nigerians – Ozekhome

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Constitutional and human rights lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) has said the Hate Speech bill introduced by Senator Sabi Abdullahi will consume Nigerians if allowed.

Recall that in a bid to curb the incidence and defamation of character by some anxious media users in the country, the Nigerian Senate has reintroduced the ‘Hate Speech’ Bill at the plenary sitting of the National Assembly.

Naija News understands that the bill scaled through the first reading earlier on Tuesday to set up an agency to prohibit hate speeches.

The Bill is titled: “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2019”.

In a statement, Ozekhome called on the 9th National Assembly to kill the bill during the second reading.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria described the bill as nonsensical legislation, adding that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government has failed the test of criticisms.

He said the bill would create a constitutional crisis as it is in conflict with section 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended.

Ozekhome said: “A bill sponsored by the Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi, who incidentally was the Spokesperson for the Senate in the 8th National Assembly, is said to have passed the first reading on Tuesday,12th November 2019.

“Part of the bizarre provisions in the said bill are said to contain prescription of the death penalty for makers of hate speech.

“What is hate speech by the way and who defines it? What is the true test of determining it? Is the test that of a government in power? Or that of the traumatised people? Or that of the NASS? Or that of the Courts? Or, that of the Executive? Just who?

“I have not yet had the opportunity to read the bill and so do not yet have the details of this unusual bill that has allegedly passed the first reading, seeking the death penalty (by hanging) on alleged hate speech.

“I pray this provision is not true. I pray it is a mere moonlight tale, the type described as a “tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

“This bill should be deleted immediately.

“The bill should immediately be aborted and killed as a malformed embryo at its second reading gestation stage before it is allowed to be delivered as a societal monster.

“Let me quickly warn that this maverick and intolerant government cannot be trusted by any sane person to fairly operate such a draconian piece of legislation introduced under a law that carries the death penalty, for alleged hate speech.”

 




Ogbolu George is a graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Benin. He loves politics, is a movie addict and a die-hard Arsenal fan. George is a Senior Content Creator at Naija News.