Hate speech and freedom of speech in Nigeria
Sir: I followed the preaching of Prof. AbdulRasheed Ajani Raji on Friday, to the very end, on Harmony FM; because it was typical of the old time religion, and as you know, one can always learn more Yoruba from Prof. Raji. Apart from that, I am aware that hate speech law has been existing in America since a long time ago. But I also know that the law is well defined against such things as racism. Nigeria rulers should outline the target of the hate speech bill in such a way that it will not harm freedom of speech and it should be transparently reasonable and just, rather than to protect dictatorship and governmental terrorism, such as visited on Boko Haram and the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN).
Is it hate speech if I say, for instance, that Africans, nay too many human beings, allow themselves to be taken-in by the foolery that one human being died to take away human sins, when inhumanity of human beings to human beings is unabated, and that the story of one Angel bringing down a book from heaven is a myth, since we have not seen any book that is not riddled with syncretism, collated and edited? Is it hate speech if I say Muslim and Christian imperialists should allow Nigeria to be as religionless as stipulated by the Constitution, and to repent of imposing Islam and Christianity on African children in public schools, from crèche to university levels? Is it not true that Fulani Muslim imperialists are seeking political power to pursue Muslim minorities, such as the Boko Haram and IMN that don’t want to submit to the Sokoto Sultanate?
Is it hate speech to say that Nigeria rulers are very corrupt and self-centred, and that they have been perpetrating carnage and economic destruction of Nigeria, 2009 till date? Is it hating speech to say that Nigeria rulers are unruly, as they continue to maintain unregulated survival of the fittest, as during the military era, rather than ordering the polity for political peace and stability? Is it hate speech to say that Nigeria’s legislators and those in the presidency are earning fabulous amounts of money, yet they preside over political and economic opportunisms, rather than societal order and development? Will the hate speech law take care of a situation in which Yar’Adua abused his presidential powers to attack Boko Haram; Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan abused his to truncate rotational presidency, and GMB is using his to protect the Fulani herdsmen terrorists and persecute IMN in addition to the unjustifiable war against Boko Haram, ravaging human lives and economic resources?
What exactly is the target of the hate speech bill? How will it stabilise Nigeria for unity, equity, peace and progress? What is hate speech? Give some concrete examples. Why should Nigeria rulers be pursuing frivolities: homosexuals, indecent dressing, hijab and things like, without bread and butter?
Prof. Olojeede Oyeniran Abioje, University of Ilorin.