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Hate Speech: 5 Important things you should be aware of

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

In a new bill by the Senate, any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person shall die by hanging upon conviction. The hate speech bill, which has passed second reading in the senate, has generated a lot of opinions since the pubic got to know about it . Well, here are 5 things you should know about it.

1. Who sponsored the bill?

The spokesman of the upper chamber, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi (APC, Niger) did.

2.Why he sponsored the bill

People who cause the death of another through hate speech should also be killed, and according to him ,“after all, our present law says if you do anything that results in the death of another person and it is proven beyond reasonable doubt that you caused the death of that person, the penalty is death by hanging.” The Senate spokesperson said the penalty is only for those who are found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person after judicial processes in a Federal High Court.

3.Those who will oppose the bill?

The Senate says “People who may be having some opposing views about it definitely are not in the category of people who have lost dear ones and family or livelihood to similar circumstances. If they are, I think they will be saying how I wish this was in place before this thing happened to me.”

4.What the bill notes:

“A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence, if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.”

5.What journalists are saying

In a statement on Friday, the NUJ National Secretary, Shuaibu Leman, said “It is instructive to note that citizens are entitled to free speech even if they hold offensive and hurtful opinions. We also cannot forget that people have the right to be biased, even offensive in their speech even if journalism is different and we have to be aware of this.”

“It is therefore, our considered opinion that it is pertinent to avoid such pitfalls in our bid to come up with legislation to curtail the excesses of citizens,”

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