A bill to set up a commission for the prohibition of hate speeches has been introduced on the floor of the Senate.

The Bill which is sponsored by the former Senate spokesman, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, is listed on the order paper and has passed first reading on Tuesday.

According to the lawmakers, the object and purpose for which the Commission is established eliminate all forms of hate speeches in Nigeria, and to advise the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on all aspects thereof.

Section 4 of the Bill defines the act of Hate speech as:

(1) A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provided, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and or visual which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.

2) Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life,  the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

Last week, the Senate passed through first reading the Protection from internet falsehood and manipulations Bill 2019.

The proposed legislation seeks to prevent the spreading and broadcasting of falsehood and manipulations using social media platforms via internet broadcasts and transmissions.

This Bill is reminiscent of the Social Media Bill which was introduced in the eight assembly but was not passed because of widespread condemnation of the bill which some Nigerians felt was intended to stifle freedom of expression.


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