CSOs, lawyer fault proposed bill on hate speech

Emmanuel Onwubiko

Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and a legal practitioner have faulted the proposed bill on hate speech.

The bill, by the National Assembly is seeking to lynch offenders of hate speech upon conviction.

The Executive Director of Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), Auwal Ibrahim Musa, said in Abuja yesterday, that hanging offenders would not address the issue.

He said this is despite the fact that hate speeches have continued to fuel violence across the country, put pressure on socio-cultural value system and increase threats to life.

“We don’t support capital punishment in Nigeria, because many judgments that were passed to kill people either by shooting or hanging, were later discovered not to have been done with proper evidence,” he said.

Also, a legal practitioner, Abubakar Sani, said: “If it is in the social media, the Cyber Crime Act would take care of it, as it is applicable nationwide by virtue of Item 46 of the Exclusive Legislative List of the Constitution.

A statement by the National Coordinator, HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said: “The draconian bill meant to check hate speeches, is entirely prepared to destroy freedom of speech and media rights.

“It is one amongst the latest weapons being used by haters of free speech to seek to demonise and attack perceived political opponents and independent voices.

“The APC dominated National Assembly is using backyard tactics to drive political opponents of Muhammadu Buhari underground, to prepare ground for the massive rigging of the 2019 polls.

Founder and CEO, Osi Joe Touching Lives Initiative, Juliana Osakue, also expressed concern that freedom of speech is under serious threat in the country.

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