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Hate Speech bill most draconian piece of legislation – Ozekhome



A senior lawyer based in Abuja, Dr. Mike Ozhekome, said the hate speech bill that was extended at first reading on Tuesday in the Senate was the most draconian legislation.

Latest Nigeria newspaper report that In reaction to the development in Abuja, the bill sponsored by Senator Sabi Abdullahi, representing the Senator District of Northern Niger, Mike Ozekhome, a Nigerian chief lawyer (SAN), immediately urged senators to kill the bill in second reading.

Latest Nigeria newspaper report that He described the current administration as “rebellious and intolerant,” that this type of bill should not be trusted.

He said, “It is meaningless legislation that I was hoping to consume Nigerians if they allowed it,” adding that the government led by Buhari did not pass the criticism test.

According to him, the content of the bill was in conflict with section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, saying that allowing the bill would create a constitutional crisis.

Ozekhome said:

“It is said that a bill sponsored by the Deputy Chief of the Whip Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi, who was the Senate spokesman at the 8th National Assembly, passed the first reading on Tuesday, November 12, 2019.

“It is said that part of the strange provisions of said bill contain prescription of the death penalty for the creators of hate speech.

“What is hate speech by the way and who defines it? What is the real test to determine it? Is the test that of a government in power? Or that of traumatized people? Or that of NASS? Or the one in the courts? Or that of the Executive? Just who?

“I have not yet had the opportunity to read the bill and, therefore, I still do not have the details of this unusual bill that allegedly passed the first reading, seeking the death penalty (hanging) for alleged hate speech .

“I pray that this provision is not true. I pray that it is a simple story in the moonlight, the type described as a “story told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, which means nothing.”

“This bill must be removed immediately.

“The bill should be immediately aborted and killed as a malformed embryo in its second stage of reading gestation, before it is allowed to deliver it as a social monster.

“Let me quickly warn you that no person in their right mind can rely on this rebel and intolerant government to operate fairly draconian legislation introduced under a law that carries the death penalty, for alleged hate speech.

“When a speech has simply been delivered under section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees that freedom of expression has become not only a treacherous crime (life imprisonment), but betrayal itself, which is punishable by death?

Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees “the freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any means of communication and regardless of borders.”

“Nigeria is a signatory of this international instrument. Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, also domesticated in Nigeria, reinforces this inalienable freedom that the NASS is trying to undress and destroy.

“The bill is a piece of dictatorial and absolutist legislation that is unintended, misconceived, poorly digested and misread, which is about to consume us all.

“An unpleasant law like this will lead even more to hiding and hiding, opposition and genuine social critics who speak the truth to power and criticize opaque, anti-personnel, corrupt and high-ranking government policies.

“This government has been tested and is known to be very allergic to constructive criticism. His skin is very negative against criticism regarding the genuine concerns of citizens.

“It is a government that listens to itself, establishes its own exam questions, marks them by itself, and awards itself.

Latest Nigeria newspaper report that The opinion of the citizens does not matter. That is why we have senior government officials that shock the conscience of Nigerians and the world by saying, for example, that insecurity in Nigeria,” he concluded.