Senate’s Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi has said the proposed Hate Speech Bill recently introduced by the Senate was not meant to give President Muhammadu Buhari alleged third term agenda.
Abdullahi, who addressed reporters yesterday in Abuja, said the Bill is meant to check what he called abuse of the nation’s “faultiness of ethnicity and religion” to cause crisis.
“For those who think their ludicrous assessment that the Hate Speech Bill is meant to give the current President (Muhammadu Buhari) a third term, it is not true,” he said.
Also yesterday, Acting Senate spokesman Godiya Akwashiki described the Hate Speech Bill as a private member Bill which will be thoroughly scrutinised by the Senate during second reading.
Abdullahi regretted that many Nigerians, who decried the Bill merely “jumped the gun” by reaching conclusions before reading it.
“For those shouting and using words that by every definition is Hate Speech, let them be guided,” he said.
“People said that the Bill is to prevent free speech. This is far from the truth. Very soon I will lead the debate for the Bill to be read a second time on floor of the Senate,” Abdullahi added.
He recalled that in last 10 days since the Bill scaled first reading in the Senate, he had received a lot of reactions from Nigerians, including outright “threats” to his life.
Also, Activist-lawyer Femi Falana (SAN) has said the Hate Speech Bill will be challenged in a court, if passed by the National Assembly.
He contended that the National Assembly does not have the competence to pass the proposed Bill proposed by Senator Sabi Abdullahi.
In a statement yesterday, Falana said: “By virtue of Section 4 of the Constitution, the power of the National Assembly to make laws is limited to matters in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative lists. To the extent that hate speech is not covered by both legislative lists, the National Assembly cannot pass any Hate Speech Bill,” he said.