ABUJA, Nigeria – Former Senator, Kaduna Central Senatorial district, Shehu Sani, has condemned the recent first reading of the hate speech bill on the floor of the senate.
Shehu Sani lamented that Nigeria was currently on the “road to full-blown tyranny” with the introduction of the bill sponsored by Senator Sabi Abdullahi.
The former lawmaker who registered his displeasure on Tuesday through a Facebook post insisted that the bill was an authoritarian step to “protect power by fear and silence.”
He wrote: “The parliament must not be complicit in the destruction of our democracy and the building of a totalitarian state. A bill to regulate social media and to prescribe death sentence for a so-called hate speech is a road to full-blown tyranny; An authoritarian step to protect power by fear and silence.”
Senator Sabi Abdullahi representing Niger North Senatorial district had on Tuesday sponsored a private bill to tackle hate speeches and other social media related contents, considered antagonistic to the interest of Nigerian society. Read it here.
The lawmaker, who was Senate Spokesman in the 8th Senate and now Deputy Chief Whip, wants the National Assembly to establish a Commission with administrative structures to deal with hate speeches in Nigeria.
The bill titled: “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Est., etc) bill, 2019 (SB. 154)” passed its first reading on Tuesday.
The introduction of hate speech bill has since been met with backlash from Nigerians and lawmakers.