The sponsor of the hate speech bill, Senator Aliyu Abdullahi has disclosed that he has been receiving death threats since the bill was re-introduced in the 9th National Assembly.
It will be recalled that Senator Abdullahi, the lawmaker representing Niger North Senatorial District and also doubles as the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate sponsored the bill which has already scaled first reading at the Senate.
As part of recommendations, the bill, among other things, is calling for the setting up of a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill and death by hanging as punishment for hate speeches.
Senator Abdullahi has however declared that despite the death threats been received, he won’t be cowed into neglecting his legislative duties.
“Like somebody wrote to me, over the past ten days or so since the bill was read for the first time, I have received all kinds of messages some even including threats. But I am not bothered about that. In all of these, if I receive one commendation, it gladdens my heart and I did receive many commendations and one stood out and said there is so much hate in this country. We must check it.
“If you meet those who have lost their loved ones arising from religious or ethnicity, intolerance, and the like, I don’t think they will be smiling with you when you tell them hate speech is nonsense or does not exist. They have felt, seen and are living as victims of hate speech,” he said.
“I reckon in my thinking that the atmosphere was not right for even debating the subject matter because, at the end of the day, we will be missing the point. So I did not pursue it.
“On assessing the reason why I introduced the bill in the 8th senate in the first instance, I have seen that these reasons are not abated. If anything, they are actually assuming a life of their own. So I decided that this bill be reintroduced and it was on the 12th of this month.
“They will demonise me, I am not moved because this is the subject of life and no one buys life in the market. Nobody came with a spare” Abdullahi said.
Meanwhile, it will be recalled as earlier reported by Naija News, the Nigerian Senate has denied sponsoring the controversial hate speech bill that scaled the first reading last week in the National Assembly.
The acting spokesperson for the red chamber, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, said on Monday that the bill was not the idea of the 9th Senate, but a private bill.