- Jerry Howard, a United States official, reportedly described the bill on hate speech by Senator Sabi Abdullahi as impressive
- Howard spoke about the recent reports and impressions Nigerians have of the bill
- The US official wants the National Assembly to engage non-governmental organisations and civil society groups
Jerry Howard, an official of the United States embassy, has reportedly asked the National Assembly to engage civil society groups and non-governmental organisations concerning the hate speech bill.
According to a statement by the media office of Senator Sabi Abdullahi, the sponsor of the bill, the US official described the legislation as impressive and that it would resolve challenges of discrimination, hostility and violence.
The statement said Howard made the comment when he met with Abdullahi, who is deputy chief whip of the Senate.
The US official said he met with Abdullahi to discuss the hate speech bill and understand its content.
Abdullahi explained what the bill is about after which Howard reportedly described the reports by a section of the media as misleading and causing hysteria. According to him, journalists have had a field day with reports concerning the bill.
“We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria's success is a successful democracy.
“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward," Howard said.
He said the bill was well thought but that the senator has a tough task ahead in selling the positive aspect of the bill to Nigerians.
In his explanation, the Nigerian senator had told Howard that the bill is expected to reduce the level of violence in the country as this is sometimes traced to hate speeches.
“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence,” the senator told Howard.
Legit.ng reported that the deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, Hajiya Amina Mohammed, on Tuesday, November 26, said that while the move against hate speech is commendable, the death penalty aspect of the proposed bill should be scrapped.
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