Condemnations have continued to trailed the proposed bill seeking to place a death penalty on anyone convicted of hate speech.
Reports has it that the law to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches, yesterday, passed its first reading on the floor of the Senate.
The bill was sponsored by Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, barely one week after the same chamber initiated moves to regulate the use of social media.
Reacting over the bill, the former aviation minister, Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, berated those supporting the bill which is seeking for gagging the media and thereby restricting freedom of speech.
According to him, “the people sponsoring the bill are worse than Hitler’s Nazis”.
“They want to hang people for so-called hate speech and they want to regulate social media. These people are worse than Hitler’s Nazis and they seek to establish a totalitarian fascist state. After they silence everyone they will set up Nazi concentration camps for their enemies”, Kayode wrote on twitter.
Similarly, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Agbakoba Olisa, told the senators to kill the bill, as it was irrelevant and unnecessary.
He said; “First, we have laws in place under our criminal justice system; all we need is enforcing the laws against hate speech by the police. But more important is the fact that the bill is also an establishment bill, which means establishing an agency to enforce the laws prescribed by the bill, placing expenditures we cannot afford. Seeing that we are running a deficit budget of nearly 30 per cent, I urge the Senators to kill it.
“An Establishment Bill sets up a bureaucracy and structures with grave implications for financial resources. But an Executor Bill merely legislates on any matter without strain on resources. So, the new Finance Bill is executory as the FIRS will execute the new VAT tax without any financial implications. Executor’s Bill is executory bill,” said Olisa.
Another SAN, Chief Mike Ozekhome described it as draconian and should be aborted as a malformed embryo at its second reading before it is delivered as a societal monster.
“The bill is an ill-intentioned, ill-conceived, ill-digested and ill-part dictatorial and absolutist piece of nonsensical legislation waiting to consume all of us. An obnoxious law such as this will further drive underground and into hiding, the opposition and genuine social critics who speak truth to power and criticise serial opaque, anti-people, corrupt and high-handed polices of government.
“This government has been tested and known to be very allergic to constructive criticisms. It is a government that listens to itself, sets its own examination questions, marks them and award marks to itself. Citizens’ opinion does not matter. That is why we have topmost government officials who shock the conscience of Nigerians and the world by saying, for example, that insecurity in Nigeria is exaggerated (Vice President Yemi Osibanjo, SAN); and that Nigerian roads are not as bad as we “falsely” proclaim (Raji Fashola, Minister of Works and Housings).”