June 13, 2024

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Hate Speech Bill Is Anti Masses – Law students

2 min read

Law Students Association of Nigeria, LAWSAN, has flayed what it terms “the anti-masses hate speech bill”, calling on the National Assembly to suspend action on the bill brought before the assembly.
National president of LAWSAN, Emmanuel Nwobodo, told TNN in an interview that “it is saddening that despite uproar and condemnations from the public, the bill is said to have passed a second reading now.”
Nwobodo urged the National Assembly to do the needful by heeding to the voice of the masses and stop further legislative work on the bill.
“LAWSAN hereby joins forces with the citizens to cry out against such anti people bill and calls on the National Assembly to bow to the will of the masses and do the needful by doing away the bill.
“It appears that the National Assembly whose membership rose to power on the back of the social media is bent on foisting a law on the citizens.”
Nwobodo noted that there were already existing laws to deal with hate speech and fake news. He took credence from section 24 of the Cyber Crime Act, which he said stated clear how to deal with unfounded rumour.
“Suffice it to say that there are laws on ground already to deal with hate speech or fake news. Section 24 of the Cyber Crime Act is very clear and unambiguous on how fake news and hate speech can be dealt with. The criminal code and the penal code are replete with sections dealing with unfounded rumours. There is also the civil remedy option of libel in court.
“The draconian anti hate speech bill which the National Assembly wishes to pass is unjustifiable and a total misplacement of priority. It is an attempt to gag the masses. It calls for concern that the National Assembly disregards corruption which is the cancer that has eaten deep into the fabric of Nigerian society but chose to go after the citizens.
“It is a known fact that freedom of expression is not only a constitutional right, but a God given right which was restated by the Supreme Court. Furthermore, section 22 of the constitution says that the mass media, including the social media, should hold the government accountable to the people. How possible would that be in a circumstance where the citizens are gagged?” he said.
Meanwhile, in a bid to give back to the society, the group is embarking on a campaign tagged “LAWSAN Goes To School”
Speaking on behalf of the organizers and sponsors of the campaign, the head of operation and logistics, Justice Emeh told TNN that the essence of the campaign was to visit secondary schools and create awareness on legal issues.

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