Activist warns against Hate Speech Bill, says it’s threat to democracy
The bill on Hate Speech before the National Assembly, if passed into law, would infringe on citizens’ rights, aside threatening the essence of democracy, which allows for free speech.
The Executive Director, Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), Adewale Adeoye stated this at a one-day summit on Peace building and conflict prevention for leaders of ethnic groups in Lagos by JODER.
Adeoye said it is always good for people to express themselves, so that government can gauge what is in their hearts. “So, it’s better that we understand the basic principles of democracy, which is about free speech. When people make speeches that are not right, you can challenge them in court, and we have enough laws that can take care of some of these areas,” he said.
Speaking on the theme on the summit, Coordinator, African Conflict Prevention and Peace Network, Sina Odugbemi, noted that from experience, extremism and violence in Nigeria cannot be fought without a keen understanding of the Maghreb Region.
“The flow of arms and the threats to stability in Nigeria cannot be resolved, unless we have a deep understanding of the proliferation of arms in the Maghreb region.
French speaking countries surround Nigeria. The free movement of people in that area is an indication that Nigeria will remain unsafe, unless there is a strong and effective border control mechanism,” Odugbemi said.
Development Consultant, Col. Tony Nyiam (Rtd) said if manipulation of the citizens by partisan politicians is checked, ethnic violence would be minimised.