Report says the sponsor of the controversial Hate Speech Bill, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, on Sunday said he would remove death penalty as the maximum punishment for offenders in the proposed bill on hate speech due to pressure from Nigerians
the Senate Deputy Chief Whip Sabi Abdullahi, in a statement issued in Abuja, explained that the death (by hanging) penalty proposed for anyone found culpable of hate speech which leads to the death of another, would be amended by the Senate when the bill would be debated by the National Assembly members.
The former spokesperson for the 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.
Abdullahi, who insisted that hate speech had led to the death of many people, argued that the concept remained a major factor behind depression and suicide in the country.
He said, “We have followed closely arguments for and against the hate speech bill, and seen the reason why some kicked against it. 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.
“Clearly, from the conversations, Nigerians agree that we have a problem today as a result of hate speech which has fueled so many killings and violence, and is responsible for cases of depression and suicide.”
Quoting a World Health Organisation report, Abdullahi said Nigeria rated the seventh-largest country in the world, “has Africa’s highest rate of depression and ranks fifth in the world frequency of suicide.”
The senator, who is representing Niger North Senatorial District, explained that the Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech to be established would guard against every act of discrimination against Nigerians by way of victimisation.
“The distinguished senator shall table all the views so canvassed on the two bills before the Senate as the voice and wish of the people of Plateau North.”