By Jimitota Onoyume
WARRI—IJAW Youth Council, IYC, yesterday kicked against the Hate Speech Bill sponsored by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi of Niger State, saying it will become an instrument in the hands of politicians to suppress and repress opposition.
National President of the body, Mr Eric Omare, yesterday, in Warri, Delta State, also flayed the constitution of Anti-Hate Speech Commission, noting that the functions of the commission were already being performed by Ministry of Information.
He said creation of the commission was another drain on the lean public resources, arguing that campaigns should be sustained to sensitise Nigerians against hate speech rather than sanctions under any law against such speeches that could be conveniently abused by the political class against opponents.
According to him, “in a country like Nigeria, where politics is played with all sorts of bitterness, the anti-hate speech law would be used by politicians to suppress their opponents and trample on the right to freedom of expression and, therefore, must be discouraged.
“In our view, what is required is effective campaign and orientation on the negative effect of hate speech without the necessity of having a law with punitive sanctions. We also oppose the setting up of the Anti-Hate Speech Commission because such a body is not necessary.
“We, therefore, call on the National Assembly to drop the Anti-Hate Speech Bill and use the already existing instruments of government to fight against hate speech in the country.”