Dambazau: Executive Bill to Curb Hate Speech Underway

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  •  Says FG awaiting report on Ozubulu church massacre

Onyebuchi Ezigbo in Abuja

The Minister of Interior, Lt.-Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau (rtd.), has said that the federal government is taking proactive measures to end the hateful and divisive speeches currently threatening the peace and stability of the country.

In this regard, he disclosed that his ministry has submitted a draft bill to the Ministry of Justice, which will review it and submit to the National Assembly as an executive bill for passage into law.

The law, when passed, will criminalise hate speech and subject culprits to persecution and punishment, he added.

Regarding the ugly gun violence on Sunday, leading to the deaths of 13 persons at St. Phillip’s Catholic Church in Ozubulu town in Anambra State, the minister said the government was yet to receive the detailed report of what happened.

Speaking to journalists late Wednesday evening shortly after a meeting with the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dambazau said that as far as the government was concerned every Nigerian is entitled to practise his or her religion, adding that no one can also choose the tribe into which he or she shall be born.

“What we have done now is to submit a draft bill to the Ministry of Justice on hate speech which will go as an executive bill after passing through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation to the National Assembly. The draft contains the law and punishment for hate speeches.

“This should not be allowed in this country. Everybody is entitled to belong to his or her religion and no one chooses the tribe into which he or she wants to be born.

“That is how God wants the person to be and there is absolutely no reason for hate speech. If the National Assembly passes the bill, certainly anybody who engages in hate speech will be prosecuted in accordance with the law of the country,” he said.

On the tragedy that befell the sprawling town of Ozubulu in Anambra State on Sunday, Dambazau said though he had spoken with the state governor, Willie Obiano, on the incident and obtained a preliminary report of what happened, the federal government still needed to get a detailed report.

“I have spoken with the governor of the state and he told me that it was an issue that bordered on the relationship between two persons from the same village, resident somewhere in South Africa.

“As a result, one of them arranged the violent attack. I have not received the detailed report of that incident. But whether there is speculation that those two persons are involved in drug trafficking or not, I am still awaiting the detailed report,” he said.

On the scandal that has trailed his ministry’s recruitment exercise since 2015, the minister said efforts had been made to correct the anomalies by starting the process afresh.

“We have started the process all over again and of the 2,000 reported, we recruited 888 that finally scaled through. So the balance of 1,112 is the vacant positions we advertised for recruitment,” he said.

  • Kumson Forson

    I am not a homosexual man, but I don’t think that the government has any business snooping around people’s bedrooms, policing homosexual activities between consenting adults, and bastardizing the sanctity of their bedrooms.

    From where I stand, whatever two consenting adults do with themselves in the privacy of their bedrooms should be off-limit to the sex police; the sanctity of the bedrooms must be respected.

    So in this case two consenting male adults had anal sex, what’s the big deal? Don’t even heterosexual have anal sex? What’s the difference? Why is it a crime if two males have anal sex with each other, but somehow it is okay if a man and woman have anal sex?

    To me, the law against sex between the same sex is both obnoxious and capricious, and must be challenged in the courts to test its veracity, because at its value this law seem to violate the equal protection clause of the 1999 constitution, as amended.

  • Making laws to gag the citizens and prevent them from exercising their right of free expression is sign of a failed government. There were several regimes, including military regimes, before this one. Of all those regimes, only one made laws to gag the people. The man of that regime is the one on the saddle today and he has been looking for excuses beginning from 2015 to gag the citizens. Right from day one, he sponsored serious campaign to abolish or weaken the legislature to enable him rule by decrees and executive pamphlets. We must be eternally watchful because those who acquired power by the dubious use of hate speech are now attempting to gag the citizens.

    • “Making laws to gag the citizens and prevent them from exercising their right of free expression is sign of a failed government,” and that’s incorrect. Hate-speech does not impede free-speech and we have laws against hate-speech in the USA as well. Do not just go against anything for the sake of going against things.

  • Jon West

    Hope that in the spirit of the militaristic mindset of the minister and his Principal in London, the hate speech law can be made retroactive, so that the Dullard from Daura will be the fisrt convict, being the progenitor of hate speech in Nigerian politics.

    • Major

      Yes My brother, Those who are addicted to hate speech will make the law of no effect,because Nigeria Laws operate depending on the person involved in the offence. Why don’t they make law against Fulani herdsmen if they take any life in any part of Nigeria? Why not make law against Muslim riots and fanaticism?Why not make law against religious intolerance which is the hallmark of Hausa.Fulani Muslims?They only woke up now to make useless laws when it is already too late. Why do they even talk about Nigeria’s unity now that some regions are fed up with the unity as interpreted in Nigeria by Nigerians? We are in Unity,but jobs and employment will be skewed in favour of certain region? We are United when University and public school admission is done on an unbalanced yardstick? This is hollow unity and it is coming when things have already fallen apart in this country called Nigeria.And there is disenchantment of the system everywhere you turn to.

      • There you go again turning a good intention into tribalism … Nigeria’s lowest common denominator. Why must everything be tribalistic for you and others.

        Actions of anyone including Fulani herdsmen and anyone who cause anyone’s death traced to religious issue will be parts of the hate-speech laws as we have in the USA. States and Local Government can also have their own local laws on hate-speech as well.

  • Thisday News Editor
  • Kumson Forson

    What is a hate speech, and on whose standards would a hate speech be determined?

  • This is democracy that guarantees freedom of speech, not a Banana Republic. The proposed bill will constitute an infringement on the fundamental rights of the people. let retired military personnel in position of leadership learn to imbibe democratic principles and do what the citizens appointed them to do with humility.