The Sponsor of the controversial Hate Speech Bill, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, has finally acquiesced to the request from well-meaning Nigerians and the international community as he declared on Sunday that his proposed legislation would be amended to remove death penalty as the maximum punishment for offenders.
Abdullahi, who is the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, in a statement 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 is subjected to legislative input by the National Assembly.
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.
He added that the Senate welcomes contributions and inputs by critics and supporters of the bill.
He said such contributions would go a long way towards giving Nigerians the much-awaited address the disturbing trend of hate speech.
He insisted that hate speech had led to the death of many people and argued that the concept remained a major factor behind depression and suicide in Nigeria.
Abdullahi 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 an amendment to the death penalty aspect that most Nigerians objected to, so that bill that meets their expectations is passed into law.
“Clearly from the conversations, Nigerians agree that we have a problem in the society today as a result of hate speech which has fueled so many killings and violence, and is responsible for cases of depression and suicides.”
Citing a World Health Organisation report, Abdullahi disclosed that Nigeria which is 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 opposed commission according to him, would have an executive chairperson, a secretary and 12 commissioners appointed through rigorous process involving the National Council of State, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly.
He said, “In order to protect the independence of the commission, the bill provides that those qualified to be appointed as members of the commission must not be members of the National Assembly or any government in authority at the local, state or federal levels.”
The lawmaker added that any person, who is a member of any political party or known to be affiliated with partisan politics, or has promoted sectional, ethnic, religious causes or openly advocated partisan ethnic positions or interest, stands disqualified from being appointed to serve on the commission.
“The overall concern is to curb violence and unnecessary loss of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians due to hate-induced violence,” Abdullahi added.
Is Godwin Emefiele, the suspended CBN Governor, a saboteur? Emma Agu asks.
I recently expressed my concerns about the arrest and subsequent detention of Godwin Emefiele, the suspended Governor of the Central Bank. It is important to note that my views on this matter are objective and unbiased.
The Department of State Services (D.S.S) has officially charged Emefiele with various offenses, including illegal possession of firearms and ammunition, criminal breach of trust, incitement to violence, criminal misappropriation of public funds, economic sabotage, economic crimes of national security significance, and undermining security.
However, despite being granted bail by the court, there were incidents where security operatives openly fought to re-arrest him. Due to my history of speaking out against our nation’s problems for many years, I refrained from writing about it as it felt futile. Speaking out on such matters exposes one to unnecessary security risks. Nevertheless, I am compelled to share a few words due to this case’s circumstances.
During former President Buhari’s first term in office, Nnamdi Kanu was arrested and released on bail but later re-arrested in an attempt by the government at that time (which failed to present a solid case)to diminish his influence. The government failed hopelessly over and over again to prove a case against him as they held him indefinitely.
What the government does to Nnamdi Kanu differs significantly from my understanding of justice. Government security operatives are holding Nnamdi Kanu inhumanely. During my last visit to Abuja when his brother, wife, and lawyer paid me a visit, I was informed about Nnamdi Kanu’s inhumane conditions. While I may have had conflicts with Nnamdi Kanu before, the government has yet to prove its case against him; he should be released. Igboland needs peace. The man should be allowed back home unless the Federal Government is content with the prevailing security situation in Igboland.
People should not be detained indefinitely; they should only be charged when sufficient evidence exists for a successful prosecution. It is crucial to treat individuals as human beings regardless of their circumstances. This viewpoint would apply equally if anyone were detained for an extended period without any clear conclusion. The unnecessary chaos involving Nigerian security forces, the executive, and judiciary branches makes Nigeria look like a Banana Republic, and we can do better.
While I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal analysis on this matter, considering the charges and the unfolding drama, this case presents significant challenges for the government in obtaining a guilty verdict. Additionally, one might question whether he would have been detained if there had been no difficulties for Nigerians in obtaining new Naira notes.
While many of my followers may believe he deserves punishment, I kindly ask you to view this matter objectively. Many people think Bola Tinubu wants to punish him because he was against his candidacy. We are watching closely. The charges against the man might arise from a personal vendetta, suggesting there is more to this situation than meets the eye. The available information accessible to the public is limited, and everyone must pay attention.
Emma Agu, alias AlahBama, writes from New York City.
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Akwa Ibom Corps Member Slaughters Boyfriend
A corps member identified as Princess Odume, was on Monday arrested by the Akwa Ibom police command for the murder of a yet-to-be-identified man.
The young woman, who is said to be a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State, was stripped naked by neighbours of the victim who caught her trying to skip the fence with a machete.
The Akwa Ibom Police Public Relations Officer, Odiko Ogbeche-Macdon confirmed the victim was the alleged murderer’s lover.
He also said, “The police are investigating. The police have her in custody, she committed the act, but as I speak, an investigation is ongoing as to how and why she did it.”
COVID-19 Claims the Life of a House on the Rock Pastor
A House On The Rock pastor, Adeyinka Akinbami(61), lost his life to COVID-19 on Friday, the 8th of January, 2021.
The Senior Pastor, of the church, Paul Adefarasin, urged Nigerians to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols.
“Yesterday (Friday), I received the rude and shocking news of someone deeply dear to me and all of the HOTR family. The passing of Pastor Yinka Akinbami has become most painful because if there truly were good men, he was certainly one. To my brother, sleep well till we meet to part no more.
“Family, kindly allow me to solicit your intercession for his dear wife of over 30 years; Pastor Tolu, his children, his children-in-law, and grandchildren. We can only at best imagine how much pain they are feeling. We share the pain of his loss but they will feel it a lot more.
“It’s important to remind the community about the deadly nature of the COVID-19 and its mutant virus strains. Please do your part by following all the recommended precautions. That way, you are able to protect yourself and others who become proximal to you. God bless and keep us all”, Adefarasin Tweeted.
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