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Hate Speech Bill: Sponsor reveals plans for death penalty clause


Sponsor of ‘hate speech bill and Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, on Sunday said the Senate may amend the proposed death penalty clause in the bill.

Abdullahi made this known in a statement he signed on Sunday in Abuja.

The lawmaker assured that the death penalty proposed in the bill would be amended by the Senate “when it is subjected to legislative input at the National Assembly.”

Abdullahi, who represents Niger North Senatorial District, said that the bill would undergo some fine-tuning to ensure that the clauses contained in its provisions to be passed into law reflected Nigerians’ views.

He added that the Senate welcomed contributions and inputs by critics and supporters of the bill, as these would go a long way towards giving Nigerians the much-needed law to address the disturbing trend of hate speech.

According to him, hate speech has led to the death of many and is a major factor behind depression and suicide in Nigeria.

“We have followed closely arguments for and against the hate speech bill, and seen the reason why some kicked against it.

“Given the high respect which we have for Nigerians, we will make amendment to the death penalty aspect that most Nigerians objected to so that a bill that meets their expectations is passed into law.

“Clearly from the conversations, Nigerians agree that we have a problem in the society today as a result of hate speech, which has fuelled so many killings and violence, and is responsible for cases of depression and suicides,” NAN quoted him as saying.

Citing a World Health Organisation (WHO)’s report, Abdullahi disclosed that Nigeria, which was the seventh-largest country in the world, “has Africa’s highest rate of depression and ranks fifth in the world’s frequency of suicide rate.”

The lawmaker explained that the Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech to be established would guard against every act of discrimination against Nigerians by way of victimisation.

The commission, according to Abdullahi, will have an executive chairperson, a secretary and twelve commissioners appointed through rigorous process involving the National Council of State, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly.





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