The Intention of Hate Speech Bill Is to Ensure Nigeria Remains United – Sabi Abdullahi

  • Lawmaker says the majority would have the day during the debate and public hearing on the bill.
  • Says hate speeches have caused alot of violence.

The lawmaker representing Niger North Senatorial District, Sabi Abdullahi, has said that the Hate Speech Bill intends to contribute to ensure that Nigerian remains one.

Speaking on Politics Today, a programme produced by Channels TV and monitored by iDONSABI, Abdulahi said that hate speech has led to many violence.

“The intention is definitely to contribute in making sure that our country remains one and united. The truth of the matter is over the past two years or two-three decades, we all know that Nigeria has changed a lot – some for good, some for the bad. And the truth of the matter is that we’ve witnessed so many violence; some reported, some unreported. And in all of these, there are people who have taken time also to study why these violence are taking place.

READ: Hate Speech Bill: Is Killing What The Society About?, Wole Soyinka Asks Lawmakers

“And in all of the violence, the majority from what I have seen through the studies and reports I have seen, many of them are preceded by hate speeches. And it alway along two frontlines; that is the religious or the ethnic. And this is a major issue for us.”

While noting that the democracy guarantees freedom of expression, the lawmaker, he said some have said the introduction of the bill is timely.

“In some other countries, racial frontline is the major issue. Now in terms of how I see people’s reactions; of course that’s the beauty of democracy. And I believe it shows very clearly that people are free to make statements to give their own perspective. And I must say that as much as I have people who are criticising this bill, I also have people who are saying that look, this bill is timely, and we need to have something like this,” he added.

Speaking on the inclusion of death by hanging in the Bill as a punishment for those convicted, he said the bill would go through debate, and public hearing, and the majority will carry the day.

READ: Senate Speaks On Proposed Hate Speech Bill

The other aspect is, perhaps, the punishment of death by hanging. Some people have brought that to even overshadow the overall import of the bill. And of course, when we say a bill, a bill has to go through debate. And after the debate, it will go through a public hearing. Now what happened during these stages is that people who are against certain clauses will bring their own options and suggestions. And at the end of the day, it is the majority view that carries the day.

“But what I want to establish at this stage is the fact that I am convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that hate speech is a major issue in this country. I think, as leaders, we can not pretend about it.”

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