Hate Speech Bill: Audacious affront against freedom of speech – Aremo Hassan Esq.
The Hate Speech Prohibition Bill with punitive death penalty sentence upon conviction is most audacious affront by members of the 9th Assembly against inalienable fundamental right to freedom of speech as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
This is meant to be a gag against Nigerians to freely express their real feelings against some government policies or serve as a bate to weakened the voices of the opposition by the ruling party while the media is subjected to total alienation from reporting uncompromising events and activities of such government and persons, the proposed Bill in it self is an exercise in futility abinitio. Dead on Arrival.
In as much as i do not support destructive and seditious statement or uncouth and unpatriotic publications via social media or any other information dissemination methods and platforms, it is important to note that their are existing guiding laws against such heinous crimes; the cyber crime law specifies rules and punishment for violators, it will amount to double jeopardy and inimical waste of resources to our legal system as a retarded rendezvous and aimless penchant for law making without an iota of will power on enforcement of the law.
The terrorism law is also another law that guides against seditious negative statements that are capable of causing damage or arousing chaos and war in the country, with extant capital punishment for offenders such as death penalty and other prison terms sentencing depending on the degree or severity of the crime.
It is a most worrisome and absolute misplaced priority to kick start a law that is aimed at killing democratic ethos and economic development of the nation, especially at this critical state of our national lives, coupled with daily anguish and extreme poverty faced by many Nigerians. Hence, this is an inevitable reason for citizens to complain and raise provocative utrances, while it is incumbent upon the government to reason deeply and exercise lots of restaurants in handling such a delicate and volatile situation, the death penalty is not commensurate to the offence at the first mention of it, for such an obnoxious and anti masses bill will not survive the test of time, more so the second reading even if not shut down at the first reading of it at the moment, however wherein if clandestinely and eventually signed into law, could trigger unprecedented huge volcanic violence and lead to irreparable consequences of anarchy, war and civil unrest.
A freely expressed opinion without being caged will Herald positive public opinion that could correct and prompt response to progressive development of the nation, which is not in itself an hate speech but mere expression of thoughts and people’s veritable needs.
The nation need laws that will cement peace, harmony and social justice , laws that will give rise to economic revolution and revival of statemanship qualities and endearing patriotism.
I would like to state categorically that this bill be immediately jettisoned, while the National Orientation Agency(NOA) and other law enforcement agencies should as a matter of neccessity advance their efforts collectively to properly orientate the citizens on the need to self regulate our attitudes and consequential dangers of hate-speeches and violent crimes against humanity.
We need to unite, revive and strengthen the dying virtues of peace and democracy in Nigeria; the tripods of a great nation are: rule of law, social justice and good governance.
Aremo Oladotun Hassan,Esq.
Chairman, NBA Lekki Eti-Osa Forum, Lagos.