On Tuesday, the Political Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America, Jerry Howard, reportedly described the Hate Speech Bill before the National Assembly as an “impressive” piece of legislation needed to address issues of discrimination, hostility and violence in Nigeria.
According to a statement released by the Media Office of Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, and signed by Oluyinka Akintunde, Howard stated this on Tuesday during a meeting with the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate and sponsor of the Hate Speech bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, at the National Assembly, Abuja.
According to the United States Embassy official, the visit was intended to engage Sabi Abdullahi and to seek an understanding of the proposed legislation under consideration by the Senate.
Following explanations by Senator Abdullahi on the bill, Mr. Howard described the response of the media as “misleading” and “hysterical,” compared to what it actually seeks to achieve.
He, therefore, advised the sponsor of the bill to engage and educate non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations in the country on its proposed contents so as to muster support for it.
Speaking on the decision of the US Embassy to engage the National Assembly on the Hate Speech bill, Howard said, “We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria’s success is successful democracy.
“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward.”
He commended the lawmaker for the level of work and research carried out on the bill.
“I’m very impressed with the research you’ve done on the bill. The media has had a field day with this, really.
“You’ve thought it through. I was depending on the media for my education, and it was very misleading. You’ve done your research and it is very interesting.
“But you have a difficult job selling this to the NGOs, CSOs. You need to talk to them. You’ll need to talk to civil society organisations, you need to educate them.
“You’ve educated me,” Howard said after Senator Abdullahi explained the contents of the bill to him.
Earlier, speaking on why he decided to introduce the bill, the lawmaker said, “Part of the reasons why violence takes place is attributable to discriminatory practices.
“It is discrimination that creates the socio-political imbalance that you see leading to a group feeling shortchanged and marginalised.
“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence,” he explained.
Abdullahi further stated that the bill’s introduction by the National Assembly has the backing of Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
The Section states: “Nothing in Sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society; in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”
On measures in place to ensure that the bill is not abused by politicians, Senator Abdullahi explained that “an Independent Commission shall be constituted and whose membership will be restricted to persons without any history of promoting ethnic or religious causes, or anyone with political affiliations.”
He added that the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly into law will address all forms of discrimination, hostility and violence which are on the rise in the country.
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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