Kaduna state Governor, Nasir el-Rufai, has called for the enactment of a legal framework to ensure the “expeditious prosecution of purveyors of fake news and hate speech,” even as he commended the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for “being in the
vanguard of the fight against the twin evils.”
El-Rufai urges tougher measures against fake news
El-Rufai made the call in Kaduna recently when he received the minister who was on a courtesy visit on the sidelines of the 47th National Council on Information, with the theme “Tackling Fake News
and Hate Speech to Enhance Peace and National Unity.”
A statement issued on Friday in Abuja by the Special Assistant to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi, quoted the governor as saying that “because of the challenges posed by fake news and hate speech, the state is
establishing a legal framework, beyond the Penal Code, that recognizes the peculiarities of spreading fake news and hate speech with the use of technology.”
“We have fundamental problems Your Excellency. First, we need to give state governments and state High Courts the jurisdiction to try this because the federal government cannot do it alone.
“What we are thinking of doing in Kaduna State is to enact our own legislation against fake news and so on. Right now we have enough in the Penal Code to try people that do that but we need a stronger
framework that recognises the technologies and the processes that are used now more than ever,” he said.
El-Rufai commended the NCI for adopting the menace of fake news as its theme and recommended that state governments “should be given broader jurisdiction to try offenders, thus putting the states at the
forefront of the campaign against fake news and hate speech.”
“This is a very important issue that you are discussing, Honourable Minister, and I think the programme you launched against fake news in all the Federal Government media is quite commendable and should be sustained.
“But beyond that, what we found here in Kaduna State is that the Cyber Crime Act, which is the one that provides a framework for prosecuting people that use Social Media to proliferate fake news, vests
jurisdiction in the Federal High Court, so we cannot easily and quickly prosecute those involved, so we have to rely on the Penal Code,” he said.