Following public outcry and pressure over the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches bill, the Nigerian Senate has removed the death penalty as punishment for anyone found guilty of the bill.
Sponsor of the controversial Hate Speech Bill, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, in a statement on Sunday said the Senate would amend the bill during legislative input by the National Assembly.
While many Nigerians continued to criticise the bill, it was revealed that Abdullahi plagiarised the title and most of the content of the bill from the ‘Protection from Internet falsehood and manipulations bill 2019’, which was recently signed into law by the Government of Singapore.
“We have followed closely arguments for and against the hate speech bill, and seen the reason why some kicked against it.
“Given the high respect which we have for Nigerians, we will make amendment to the death penalty aspect that most Nigerians objected to, so that a bill that meets their expectations is passed into law.
“Clearly from the conversations, Nigerians agree that we have a problem in the society today as a result of hate speech which has fuelled so many killings and violence, and is responsible for cases of depression and suicides,” the statement reads partly.
Abdullahi noted that an Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech would be established, adding that the commission would have executive chairperson, a secretary and 12 commissioners appointed through rigorous process involving the National Council of State, the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly.
He added that the overall concern is to curb violence and unnecessary loss of lives and livelihoods of Nigerians due to hate-induced violence.