Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe has condemned the death by hanging Hate Speech bill that was sponsored by Senator Sabi Abdullahi.
KanyiDaily had reported that a bill titled, ‘National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill 2019’ passed its first reading in the upper legislative chamber on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.
The bill prescribed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.
Reacting to the bill while speaking on Channels TV, Senator Abaribe wondered if the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, would be alive if the law was in place during the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
According to Abaribe, Lai Mohammed said so many unprintable things about Jonathan when he was still President and Lai Mohammed’s right to express his opinion was not trampled upon.
When asked to comment on the controversial bill, Senate Abaribe responded:
“In forming my thoughts, I would want to read out some things for you just to put it in context.
“”A government that is unwilling to take responsibility for anything should not be counted upon. A government has repsonsibility to protect its citizens and not engage in blame game. Now this President has finally owned up to his globally acknowledged incompetence. Never in the history of any nation has incompetence and cluelessnes been exhibited by any leader as being exhibited today in this government. This government is running the country aground with a combination of incompetence and corruption. The fact of this government(sic) has nothing to do with ethnicity but a manifestation of incompetence, cluelessness and inferiority complex.
Senator Abaribe said these were the words of Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information between 2012 and 2014. He added:
“I bet you that anybody who says this today, they would say it is hate speech. They would say you have called the president incompetent and they will jail you. That is why when you say you have the need to circumscribe people’s rights, you should also remember the past.
“If a hate speech bill which advocates death by hanging was in place between 2012 and 2014 when Lai Mohammed was making these acerbic statements against the Jonathan administration, do you think he will be alive today?
“The right to hold an opinion, make an opinion, is an inalienable right of every citizen of Nigeria and when somebody who used to use this, shows up today and now says no you can’t do it for what he did in the past, that tells you that it’s nothing but intolerance and driving us towards an authoritarian government and I am saying that every Nigerian should wake up to fact that they don’t mean well for us” he said.
The hate speech bill is coming barely one week after the Senate introduced a bill to regulate social media and prevent the spreading and broadcasting of falsehood and manipulations using social media platforms via internet broadcasts and transmissions.
The anti-social media bill proposes a fine of N150,000 or three years imprisonment for any offender.