A chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos, Ambassador Abayomi Nurain Mumuni, Tuesday said Nigeria needs hate speech bill to curtail provocative utterances and spread of fake news in the country’s cyberspace.
Mumuni in a statement made available to newsmen through his media aide, Rasheed Abubakar, declared that the hate bill became necessary considering the way most Nigerian social media users throw caution to the winds, creating palpable tension and making decorum impossible in the society.
“The hate speech bill would have been unnecessary had it been Nigerians take caution in using the social media. In the absence of decorum, peace won’t reign. We should not throw the bill out because it has come to regulate the way we use the social media.
“What are the contents of the bill? What is controversial about? It says in part, that a person must not do any act in or outside Nigeria in order to transmit in Nigeria a statement knowing or having reason to believe that it is a false statement of fact. Is there anything wrong with that? I won’t be surprised if many of those who kick against it don’t have idea of what the bill is about,” he said.
The APC chieftain maintained that, rather than condemning the bill and its sponsor, Nigerians should have called for its regulation, saying, “what
should have been advocated for is the regulation of the bill in the sense that it would only cater for glaring cases of hate speech so as not to serve as a mechanism for witch-hunting perceived oppositions or eliminating critical engagements on public policy.”
According to the APC chieftain and former CPC governorship candidate in Lagos state, developed countries like the France, Singapore, Malaysia and Italy and a host of others have legislations used to regulate public communication so as to ensure peaceful coexistence among the people in the society.
He pointed out that the use of social media in Nigeria has actually become outlet for the cowards, saying “freedom of speech does not give one the license to cause crisis, wreak havoc and make unfounded claims.”
He then urged the government to “also try as much as possible to make the punitive measures be in tandem with the offense in the sense that the ant should not be killed with a machine gun.”