Hate speech bill will stifle freedom of expression — Odumakin



Dr Joe Okei-Odumakin, President, Centre for Change, says the hate speech bill before the National Assembly has the potential of stifling freedom of expression of Nigerians.

Odumakin, who said this  in an interview with the Nigeria News Agency on Wednesday in Lagos, said the bill had the potential of permanently gagging the freedom of the press in the country.

“Let it be noted that many of us are strongly against every person or group who disseminates fake news.

“But the fact remains that Nigeria already has enough laws to deal appropriately with anyone culpable of committing such offences.

“One significant reactionary element of the proposed legislation is the attempt to create an agency for prosecuting alleged offenders, which in my view is insensitive.

“I therefore think the proponents of this bill should immediately have a rethink,” she said.

NAN reports that reaction have continued to trail the Senate reintroduced bill that seeks to penalise persons found guilty of hate speech.

The Deputy Chief Whip, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, had on Tuesday, Nov. 5, sponsored the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill.

It prescribes death penalty for anyone found guilty of spreading falsehood that leads to the death of another person.

The bill also seeks the establishment of a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech to help investigate and prosecute offenders.

(Edited by Kevin Okunzuwa/Peter Ejiofor)

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