By Lawrence Olaoye
There are indications that the federal government may not be excited about the ongoing debate on bill seeking to penalize persons found guilty of hate speech clarifying that an existing law has already taken care of it.
This indicates that the enactment of the proposed anti-hate speech law may not be necessary afterall.
Asked for comment on death penalty for those found guilty of hate speech in a the bill sponsored by the Senate Deputy Whip, Sen. Aliyu Abdullai, at a media briefing after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting chaired by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Minister of State for Transportation, Sen. Gbemisola Saraki, who opted to respond as the question was originally directed at the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, explained that the Cybercrime Act had already taken care of the proposed Anti-hate speech law.
She said “Let me just address the issue on hate crime and the bill before National Assembly. Like you rightly said it’s a bill, it’s not yet law. So the sponsor of the bill might have put the death penalty there. I think we are jumping the gun a bit. Like you said he is proposing the bill; it’s not yet an act.
Be that as it may, I think there is a law already in Nigeria: the Cybercrime Act that has the hate speech aspect in it. The reason I am not privilege to know the sponsor of the particular bill that you mentioned but there is a law, I stand to be corrected. I think it was passed 2014/2015 I am not particularly sure but there is a law that takes care of (hate speech). Because cybercrime is now a major issue and as your known internationally, the world over everybody is concerned about it being the new frontier to fight crime. So hate speech is within that cybercrime aspect.”