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Senator sponsoring hate speech bill says death penalty will be ‘amended’

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Senator Aliyu Abdullahi, the sponsor of the much-criticised hate speech bill said the aspect that proposes death penalty for defaulters of the law will be amended.

Abdullahi in a statement said he is reviewing the bill to satisfy the wishes of Nigerians.

“We have followed closely arguments for and against the hate speech bill, and seen the reason why some kicked against it,” Abdullahi said.

“Given the high respect which we have for Nigerians, we will make amendment to the death penalty aspect that most Nigerians objected to, so that a bill that meets their expectations is passed into law.”

The former spokesperson for the Nigerian Senate said the bill would undergo some fine-tuning to ensure that the clauses contained in its provisions to be passed into law, reflect the views of Nigerians.

Senator Abdullahi on November 12 reintroduced the hate speech bill the 8th Senate under Bukola Saraki abandoned under pressure last year.

Tagged “National Commission For the Prohibition of Hate Speeches”, the bill stipulates that “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.”

Since the reintroduction of the bill, Nigerians have expressed their displeasure for the proposed law. Many believe that the bill was part of attempts by public office holders of stifling citizen’s freedom of expression.

Senator Abdullahi, however, noted that the Senate welcomes contributions and inputs by critics and supporters of the bill before resubmitting the proposed law.

Abdullahi said such contributions would go a long way towards giving Nigerians the much awaited law to address the disturbing trend of hate speech.

He opined that hate speech had led to the death of many people and argued that the concept remained a major factor behind depression and suicide in Nigeria.

“The overall concern is to curb violence and unnecessary loss of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians due to hate-induced violence,” Abdullahi said.


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