The federal government said Wednesday that the existing Cybercrime Act 2015 is enough to handle the purveyors of hate speech on social media.
The Hate Speech Bill, sponsored by Senator Sabi Abdullahi, mulls death by hanging penalty for violators.
The proposed legislation passed first reading in the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
Responding to a question directed at the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, Minister of State for Transportation, Ms Gbemisola Saraki, said Nigerians were jumping the gun by drawing conclusions on the Hate Speech Bill yet to become an Act.
”It’s a bill, it’s not yet law. So the sponsor of the bill might have put the death penalty there. I think we are jumping the gun a bit, he is proposing the bill is not yet an act.
“Be that as it may, I think the Cybercrime Act is a law already in Nigeria; the Cybercrime Act that has the hate speech aspect in it.
“I am not privileged to know the sponsor of the particular bill that you mentioned but there is a law, I stand to be corrected I think it was passed 2014/2015.
“I am not particularly sure but there is a law that takes care of (hate speech) because cybercrime is now a major issue and as your know internationally, the world over everybody is concerned about it being the new frontier to fight crime. So, hate speech is within that cybercrime aspect,” she said.