By KATO P. LADAN, Kaduna
A member of National Assembly representing Akure North/South Federal Constituency of Ondo State in the House of Representatives and Vice Chairman House Committee on Poverty Alleviation, Hon. Adedayo Omolafe (Expensive) has described the “Hate Speech Bill” which currently has attracted condemnations by many Nigerians as a subtle attempt to turn Nigeria into a totalitarian state
In a press release titled “Hate Speech Bill: An absolute balderdash and devilish attempt to bring back the old dark days” made available to newsmen, Omolafe said “I have carefully read and watched the events of the proposed hate speech titled “National Commission for the prohibition of Hate Speech bill, 2019 (SB.154)” which proposed death penalty for offenders. You will recall that the bill was first introduced in March 2018 and was reintroduced in November. The said bill passed through its first reading on November 12, 2019 to the amazement of most Nigerians. I am compelled by my position as a representative of my people to say that I considered the bill as a subtle attempt to turn the nation to a totalitarian state where the state will have the absolute prerogative to determine which statement is true or false and define hate speech at will.
“There is no gain saying that this bill is a gross violation of human right to freedom of speech and information. I can therefore concur that the bill is ill motivated and a sharp target to silence constructive criticism which is the hall mark of democratic rule and good governance. It is most unfortunate that the bill among other things intend to seek an establishment of a commission that will regulate hate speech without considering the fact that the country is currently faced with amalgams of challenges ranging from dwindling economy to dilapidating infrastructures among other things. The issue of minimum wage is yet to be settled, any attempt therefore, to establish such commission will amount to a waste of our meagre resources. On the other hand, it is pertinent to say that some of the contents of the bill amounts to a mere duplication, manipulation of the press with evident ambiguity of what constitute hate speech.
“I want to state without any fear of contradiction that his bill is anti-people, anti-democratic and defiles all norms and tradition in a sane clime. We cannot afford to cage the conscience of the nation.
“I want to put on record without mincing words that, myself and good people of my constituency are opposed to this tyrannical bill in it’s entirety.
“I remain committed to the a good and quality representation of my people at the hallowed chamber. I will represent their interest without fear or favour. I will not be part of any attempt to gang up their freedom of speech which the constitution freely gave them”