Hate speech bill: Nigeria’s democracy under threat - Afe Babalola warns

Hate speech bill: Nigeria’s democracy under threat - Afe Babalola warns

- A senior lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, says the anti-hate speech bill is an attempt to take away the people’s inalienable constitutional guaranteed right to freedom of speech

- Chief Babalola describes the proposed bill as undemocratic, dictatorial and unnecessary

- The senior lawyer says Nigeria already has existing laws to sanitise public expression space

A senior lawyer, Chief Afe Babalola, has described the proposed anti-hate speech bill which prescribed death by hanging for those found guilty of hate speech as an attempt to undermine democratic governance.

The Nation reports that the senior lawyer on Wednesday, November 27, said the bill was an attempt to take away the people’s inalienable constitutional guaranteed right to freedom of speech.

The founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti (ABUAD) was reported to have made the statement after he received an award of exellence bestowed on him by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ekiti chapter.

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He described the proposed bill as undemocratic, dictatorial and unnecessary, noting that Nigeria already had existing laws to sanitise public expression space.

“I believe this is the beginning of dictatorship. There are enough laws like defamation, libel and slander to deal with anybody who publishes falsehood against someone and it comes by way of taking the person to court," the senior lawyer said.

“So, there is of no need to making new laws to deal with somebody who publishes falsehood. There was no need whatsoever for additional laws to deal with that.

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“Though, people are complaining, because the police are not doing well by delaying prosecution of offenders”.

Meanwhile, some Nigerians on Wednesday, November 27, protested at the National Assembly over a bill in the Senate seeking to regulate social media.

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Premium Times reports that the protest march which was divided into two parts began at a section of the National Assembly gate while another set moved in through the left flank of the gate.

The Cable reports that those who took part in the protest comprised of individuals and civil society organisations

The protesters described the plan to regulate social media and curb hate speech in the country as a disguise to infringe on the rights of Nigerians to free speech.

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Source: Legit

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