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Draconian Hate Speech Bill: It’s Wicked, Crude, Says ex-Military Pres. Babangida

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…its an eye service by sponsor

“Unless people can express themselves, those in government or authority will
not know what is happening in the country,” Former Military Head of State, Gen.
Ibrahim Babangida, has said.

Reacting for the first time since the draconian Hate Speech Bill debate engulfed the
country, Babangida also described the piece of legislation still in the works as
an “eye service” by the sponsor, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

 

Receiving in audience at his Minna Uphill residence the National President,
Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Christopher Isiguzo, Babangida said:“
There is no basis for the bill because no one can deny Nigerians their
fundamental rights.

“I am surprised that this bill has resurfaced. There is no basis for this
now. We are developing; we should be allowed to develop.

 

“If we make mistakes people can be cautioned. If somebody goes off you have the
right to call him to say, ‘no, we don’t want this.’’

 

The former military ruler said punishing hate speech with death by hanging was
out of tune with the 21st century reality.

“If somebody makes hate speech, put him in the gallows and not shoot
him. It is crude and out of tune with the 21st-century reality.

 

“It could have happened, maybe some 300 years ago, but not now.’’

To put a halt to the anti-people bill, Babangida promised to join forces with the
NUJ and other stakeholders in protesting the passage of the bill.

He assured: “I am with you on this. I will also talk to those of us who could be in a
position to bring sanity to bear on some of these things.

 

“If we had their type of media, I think they should be jailing you all by now.

But today, the country is better for it.’’

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