The Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has said the Anti-hate Speech Bill presently before the National Assembly seeks to ensure justice for Nigerians who are victims of hate speech contrary to widespread speculations.
The Senate’s Deputy Whip, recalling the brutal jungle justice torture and murder of Tekena, Lloyd, Ugonna and Chidiaka in 2014, said the University of Port-Harcourt students were victims of hate speech.
He added that the proposed bill seeks to protect the lives of Nigerians against undue manipulations by mischievous elements in society.
Abdullahi also disclosed that the lawmakers were already working in agreement to see that adjustments are made to the death penalty and other punitive terms contained in the bill.
According to him, the bill if passed into law without a death penalty would ensure justice for the victims and their families by ensuring that the perpetrators face the weight of the law accordingly.
“The death penalty is not definite like some Nigerians are making it seem. In the National Assembly, bills go through legislative processes. The concerns on the death penalty are genuine and will be amended accordingly. During these processes, amendments are made to fine-tune the bill in meeting with existing realities.
“Therefore, the hate speech bill will go through these processes to ensure Nigerians get the best out of the proposed bill,”
The lawmaker debunked insinuations that the bill was targeted at giving President Muhammadu Buhari a third term in office, describing the insinuation as a smear campaign by ill meaning politicians who do not wish Nigeria well.
Abdullahi also bemoaned the increasing rate of suicides and depression among Nigerian youths, saying, “If passed, the bill will ensure justice for Nigerians who are silent victims of hate speech. As we speak, statistics show that so many Nigerians are depressed and suicidal. This is as a result of the way our society is presently wired. “We live in a hate-filled society in Nigeria and need an existing law to address this. In Kenya, they found the need to address the associated Ills of hate speech and they are now better for it with the introduction of laws in that direction.”