Nigerian lawmakers are considering a law to combat hate speech in Africa’s most populous nation. The move has however attracted stern criticism.
The proposed law seeks to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech. The bill has since passed the first reading in the upper chamber of parliament, the Senate.
It makes a return to the chamber after the last Senate failed to have it passed in 2017. The then Senate president blocked the bill following backlash from the bill.
It is sponsored by the Senate’s Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi. According to reports, the lawmaker had proposed death penalty for persons found guilty of Hate Speech.
Media outlets also report that details of the bill are yet to be made public but that the death penalty provision seems to have been maintained.
Nigeria becomes the second African nation to move to combat hate speech in under a week. Ethiopia’s cabinet approved a similar legislation and referred it to lawmakers for final ratification.
During his 59th Independence Day address in October 2019, President Buhari cautioned against hate speech whiles tasking citizens with tolerance of different view points.
‘‘I reiterate my call for all to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations,’‘ he stressed.
Our Senators will pass a Bill to gag free speech under the guise of fighting hate speech. What they forget is that in less than 4 years, they may be hounded by the same laws. Sheybi they’ll want to talk when they are denied party tickets in 2023. No wahala. https://t.co/xQKTBCMOhQ— Jamal (@JajaPhD) November 12, 2019
No agency for unemployment.— Opeyemi Babalola (@CACCOT1) November 12, 2019
No agency for brain drain.
No agency for birth control.
No agency to control insurgency.
No agency to fight misappropriation of state security votes.
No agency to fight resource wastage in NASS.
But they want to have agency for hate speech….in 2019! https://t.co/oTCSv3hSsU
Pls when are they going to scrap the Nigerian senate, they are now completely useless. An agency for hate speech? Government will fund this agency with tax payers money. I’m in tears.— Aremu (@lsfdynamite) November 12, 2019
9th Senate proposes death sentence for hate speech bill.— Ink_Hart (@rizzza) November 12, 2019
*No Commission to Check Corruption.
*No Commission to Check Unemployment
*No Commission to Check Poverty.
*No Commission to Check Child Bride Marriage
*No Commission to Check Kidnapping.
But Free Speech is a Problem.
An agency for hate speech? Who will pay for the agency? Is this what our Senate is spending its time on? I must get my own agency o: National Agency for Ezemmuo Affairs. | Senate proposes bill to establish agency for hate speech – Punch Newspapers https://t.co/3ashiPE40M— Dr. Joe Abah (@DrJoeAbah) November 12, 2019
“National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches?”— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) November 12, 2019
With Governing Board, DG, Directors, Deputy Directors, Assistant Directors, Travel Budget, Budget for new HQ, and new Official Cars etc…
To police and “prohibit” “hate speech”?
In the space of one week, the Nigerian Senate has introduced two Bills and for everyone out there, this concerns you and you should pay attention— Mercy (@AbangMercy) November 12, 2019
1) PROTECTION FROM INTERNET FALSEHOOD AND MANIPULATIONS BILL 2019.
2)A NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR THE PROHIBITION OF HATE SPEECHES.