By; Ifeanyi Okonkwo,
Reactions have continued to trail the hate speech bill currently at the National Assembly, where a death sentence penalty is being muted for anybody adjudged to have committed such crime.
Hon. Romanus Ugochukwu Obi, Member representing Orumba North Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly asserted that the Bill is “Dead on arrival!”
It would be recalled that the Federal Government has expressed displeasure with some Nigerians, who through social media and other means, have gone ahead at every opportunity to discredit the efforts of the Federal Government. The Federal Government has also cautioned the choice of words being used as they feel such words are at the verge of disuniting the nation.
Several means have been introduced to check mate posts of Nigerians on social media and serious warning have also been made. Journalists have not been exempted, as reporters have been advised to stick to the ethics of their profession and also guard against promotion of hate speech in their reportage.
Some observers though, feel it is a way of silencing the opposition. While others are of the view that it is a way the Federal Government led by All Progressives Congress (APC) has chosen to stop constructive criticism from citizens.
Hon. Romanus Ugochukwu Obi representing Orumba North Constituency at the Anambra State House of Assembly, while fielding answers to questions from journalists said, “Introducing hate speech Bill and attaching death sentence, as its penalty is dead on arrival”.
“I believe it will not go pass second reading at the National Assembly because, I believe we have wise men/women at the Chambers and there is no way they are going to encourage the passage of this Bill because, death sentence is not a good idea”.
“We started hearing hate speech issues after some people said they have been marginalized and you can't expect people not to speak their mind. Misinterpretation of the truth has been classified as hate speech. I feel government should encourage people to speak out their mind and in the course of constructive criticism, correction should be taken”. The Orumba North representative reiterated.
Hon. Obi added by saying, “If anyone feels that his name has been slandered, one has the right to go to court who have been giving the mandate to handle such issues. People have been taken to court for redress and the court interprets it”.
“Legislators should not make and pass Laws that will affect and hurt them tomorrow when they leave they chambers”, he advised.