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Hate speech bill: Don’t glorify murder by your vile action, Soyinka tells lawmakers

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Hate speech bill: Don’t glorify murder by your vile action, Soyinka tells lawmakers

Nobel laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, has advised lawmakers not to impress murder as a way of life on the coming generations.

Soyinka, who was referring to the Hate Speech bill currently before the Senate which recommends death by hanging among other punishments for anyone found guilty of it, urged the lawmakers to know that the chickens have a way of coming home to roost.

He spoke in a statement on Friday titled, “Is it now cool to kill? – An anguished letter to Nigerian lawmakers.’

He said, “Remember that example, especially by leadership, is a hundred times more explicit and enduring than the mere propagation of any counter-doctrine. Do not embrace the awful responsibility of impressing homicide as a way of life on the ethical template of coming generations. The chickens have a way of coming home to roost. I may be wrong of course, but their droppings already foul the common air we all breathe. Just take a deep breath, look around you, and re-consider.’’

Saying he was a current sufferer–and not alone–from a persistent nightmare, the playwright said the affliction was induced by the legislators’ most recent approach to addressing an acknowledged problem affecting not only Nigerians, but the world.

He stated, “The nightmare consists of the fear of waking up one morning to discover that one’s name has been cited among those helpless victims on behalf of whom a repellent legislation is about to be enacted.‘’

The social critic also said he consistently denounced fake news and purveyors of public lies and hate material as the scum of the earth and closed down dozens of fake sites instituted over his name, and set in motion mechanisms for the pursuit of those who stole his identity, even where the content was harmless.

Soyinka added, “However, dear legislators, consider more deeply the path on which you have chosen to embark. I invite you to reflect quite objectively on the company into which you are about to throw yourselves, and the consequences for the very nation you represent –including its social psyche. You are about to corrupt youthful impression, to join the brigade of closet psychopaths for whom the only solution to any social malaise from the trite to the profoundly affective is – Kill! Is this what humanity and society are all about?

“You are psyching up your ranks to pronounce yourselves affiliates of inhuman aberrations such as Boko Haram, Isis (Da’esh), al Shabbab, nomadic cow herders etc. etc. for whom killing is the only response for real or imagined wrongs, perceptions of entitlement and/or deprivation, sense of righteousness and generally- concept of a thoroughly sanitised community of mortals. You are sending out applications to join the ranks of those inadequate males who believe that the only cure for adultery is to bury a woman up to her neck in earth and reduce her head to a pulp under a rain of stones.’’

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