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Hate Speech: Senate Begs Nigerians to Be Patient

The Senate, on Wednesday, begged Nigerians to be patient, following the uproar that followed the consideration of what observers have termed an “obnoxious” Bill, prescribing a death penalty for hate speech related offences.

The Bill tagged: “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches”, scaled first reading on the floor of the Senate. The Bill is sponsored by Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who doubles as Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate.

Addressing newsmen, Acting Senate spokesperson, Godiya Akwashiki, said the Senate will take a decision that will protect the interest of Nigerians. He said the process has not been concluded and therefore called for caution.

He said: “We have a process of enacting a law or an act in the National Assembly or in the state Assembly. The process starts with the first reading. Then the Leader of the Senate will read it for the first time.

“The Second reading is taken after the bill has been subjected to a debate on the floor of the Senate. Once a bill scales second reading,  it has to go to the committee and would return to the house again.

“If it is a bill that will represent the wishes and interest of Nigerians,  it will scale second reading. If it is a bill that will create hardship for the people of Nigeria and crisis, it will be killed on the floor of the Senate by senators when it comes for second reading

“I want to urge Nigerians to exercise patience with the Senate because it is not wise for me, nor legally right for me to discuss a bill that has not been mentioned for the second time on the floor of the Senate.

“When the bill comes for second reading,  then you will know where it is heading or what the Senate intends to do. I want to assure you that even if the bill scales second reading on the floor of the Senate,  we are working for the progress and betterment of Nigerians.

“We are representing the local people even in the village. That bill even if scales second reading, it  will protect your interest (as journalists) and give you immunity to make sure you do your job justifiably without fear.”

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