I Sponsored Hate Speech Bill Because of Discrimination- Sen. Abdullahi
Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi has come out to defend his backing of the hate speech bill which he presented to the upper chamber few weeks ago, saying its to curb violence. Senator Abdullahi said this when Jerry Howard, political officer of the US embassy in Nigeria visited him in Abuja adding that main reason he sponsored the bill is to address discriminatory practices that trigger violence in the country
According to a report by the Cable, the senator says “It is discrimination that creates the socio-political imbalance that you see leading to a group feeling shortchanged and marginalised,”.
“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence.”
Reacting to the bill, Mr Howard said the hate speech bill is an “Impressive Legislation” while expressing his satisfaction with the level of work done on the bill seeking to curb hate speech in the country.
He said he visited the senator to engage him on the proposed legislation and understand it better.
“We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria’s success is successful democracy,” he was quoted as saying.
“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward.
“I’m very impressed with the research you’ve done on the bill. The media has had a field day with this, really. You’ve thought it through.
“I was depending on the media for my education, and it was very misleading. You’ve done your research and it is very interesting.”
The envoy enjoined the senator to properly engage other stakeholders, including the civil society, to “sell” the idea of the bill to them.
“You’ll need to talk to civil society organisations, you need to educate them. You’ve educated me,” he added.
The bill was widely criticised when it was introduced particularly over the provision that recommends death penalty for anyone found guilty of hate speech that caused another’s death.