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We  want National Commission For The Prohibition Of Corruption And Looting Bill  By Abba Dukawa

According to oxfam dictionary define hate speech as abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation.

Nigerians may recalled  that the bill which was hitherto abandoned under pressure last year imposes death penalty on “any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.

The upper legislative chambers drop the move last year due to massive outcry from Nigerians. However, on Tuesday came the reintroduction tagged “National Commission For the Prohibition of Hate Speeches”, sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi (APC, Niger State).

The bill stipulates: “Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.”

On offences like harassment on the basis of ethnicity, racial contempt, the bill proposes not less than five-year jail term or a fine of not less than N10 million or both.

“A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and /or directs the performance of, any material, written and/or visual which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour commits an offence if such a person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.

But one thing Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Abdullahi Aliyu Sabi forgotten that under section 39 of the 1999 Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression become, not just treasonable felony (life imprisonment) but treason itself that is punishable with death?

“Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights guarantees freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Nigeria is a signatory to this international instrument.”

Accordingly, Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, also domesticated in Nigeria, reinforces this inalienable freedom that the NASS is attempting to derobe and destroy. The bill is an ill-intentioned, ill-conceived, ill-digested and dictatorial and absolutist piece of nonsensical legislation waiting to consume all of us.

What made me laugh part of the bill which prescribe death by hanging but forgotten already the nation’s constitution deal with this issue law of libel and defamation was enough to handle hate speeches.

Senate introduction of a bill seeking to establish a Federal Government agency to check hate speech in the country shows how they are always  prepared to waste public funds at the slightest opportunity, there is   enough agencies and laws in Nigeria to take care of hate speech. Our problem is not the availability of laws or agencies but the implementation and enforcement of the laws by the existing agencies.

For whatever it is worth, the Senate had better know that the Nigerian constitution has a binding force on them and that any law they pass that is inconsistent with the provisions of the Nigerian constitution that guarantees freedom of speech and expression will be null and void to the extent of that inconsistency.  What Nigerians wanted is to see one a bill tagged “National Commission For The Prohibition Of Corruption And Looting

.  The bill to stipulates: “Any public officials  who commits an offence of corruption or looting public funds under this section shall be liable of public execution or  death by hanging publicly.

This is  bill Nigerians expects to see we want yo see a our lawmakers to be  tougher on corruption and insecurity, on secretive employments, poor health facilities etc which may require that you isolate this debilitating scourge from politics. Believe me, what you do from now on as lawmakers will determine whether this nation will be strong enough to deal with challenges of the future, or it will go under because its cumulative problems have been left unattended by our leaders and lawmakers. Need for you to ensure a special court handling all corruption cases apart from our conventional courts. Judiciary, police and DSS needs to be strengthened in line with National Commission For The Prohibition Of Corruption And Looting  derived war on corruption. There is need for upcoming   Bill to be table before the house as we ensure PMB will gladly assented the bill into law  because it will in  line with administration derived war on corruption.

Am sure this bill  will deal with  secretive recruitment:  secret after secret in every government employment drive such as NNPC, CBN, NCC, SEC to mention a few, where recruitment was  conducted secretly and only the children of well-to-do Nigerians were given offers without due process being followed while we the poor ones that spent several hours in the polling stations.

Dukawa can be reach abbahydukawa@gmail.com 

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