Hate Speech Bill is Anti Masses – Law Students Association Of Nigeria

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The Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN) has described the hate speech bill before the National of Assembly as monstrous and anti masses.

The National president of LAWSAN, Mr. Emmanuel Nwobodo in a statement made available to BarristerNG expressed sadness that despite uproar and condemnations from the public, the bill have passed a second reading.

The statement reads: “The Law Students Association of Nigeria (LAWSAN)  notes with concern the monstrous anti-hate speech bill before the National Assembly which prescribes death penalty among other harsh penalties. It is saddening that despite uproar and condemnations from the public, the bill is said to have passed a second reading now. It appears that the National Assembly whose membership rose to power on the back of the social media is bent on foisting a law on the unwilling and horrified citizens.

“Suffice it to say that there are laws on ground already to deal with hate speech or fake news. Section 24 of the Cyber Crime Act is very clear and unambiguous on how fake news and hate speech can be dealt with. The Criminal Code and the Penal Code are replete with sections dealing with unfounded rumors. There is also the civil remedy option of libel in court.

“The draconian anti hate speech bill which the National Assembly wishes to pass is unjustifiable and a total misplacement of priority. It is an attempt to gag the masses. It calls for concern that the National Assembly disregards corruption which is the cancer that has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian society but chose to go after the citizens.

“It is a known fact that freedom of expression is not only a constitutional right, but a God given right which was restated by the Supreme Court in Ransome Kuti V AG Federation to be antecedent to the society itself. Furthermore, section 22 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) provided that the mass media, including the social media, should hold the government accountable to the people. How possible would that be in a circumstance where the citizens are gagged?

“The Directorate hereby joins forces with the citizens to cry out against such anti people bill and calls on the National Assembly to bow to will of the masses and do the needful by doing away the bill.”

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