US sanctions: Hate speech bill is remedy to religious persecution in Nigeria - Abdullahi

US sanctions: Hate speech bill is remedy to religious persecution in Nigeria - Abdullahi

- Passage of the Hate Speech Bill will address all issues of discrimination associated with religious persecution says Abdullahi

- The lawmaker also claimed the bill is receiving support from Nigerians

- Going further, he said recent events have vindicated the introduction of the Hate Speech bill

Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi says the passage of the Hate Speech Bill under consideration by the national assembly will address all issues of discrimination associated with religious and ethnic persecution in Nigeria.

Sabi Abdullahi stated this against the backdrop of impending sanctions faced by Nigeria following its inclusion on the ‘special watchlist' of the United States Government over high cases of religious and ethnic persecution.

The United States secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, had announced Nigeria's inclusion into the religion violations list.

Also, the 2018 report of the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), recommended Nigeria's designation as a “Country of Particular Concern” (CPC) given the high cases of violence and discrimination recorded on the basis of religion and ethnicity.

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The report indicted the federal and state governments of doing nothing to bring the situation under control.

Reacting on the development, Senator Abdullahi said “the escalating incidence of religious and ethnic violence in Nigeria stems from discrimination on almost all fronts which the Hate Speech Bill specifically seeks to address.

“The threat is real. With the inclusion of Nigeria on the watch list of the United States Government and sanctions to follow, it is only imperative for the legislature to act timely by introducing a law to deal with the menace which is becoming an embarrassment to the reputation of the country internationally.”

On the support of Nigerians for the Hate Speech bill, the lawmaker said, “I can tell you that the bill is receiving strong support from Nigerians across the country.

He added that recent events have vindicated the introduction of the Hate Speech bill and expressed full confidence that Nigerians would come out massively to support it when the time is right.

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Meanwhile, Ahmad Lawan, Nigeria's Senate president, said that the hate speech bill currently before lawmakers would not be passed into law.

According to him, it would not pass if a majority of Nigerians oppose it. He disclosed this while addressing journalists in Abuja.

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