A bill to set up a commission for the prohibition of hate speeches has been introduced on the floor of the Senate.
The Bill which is sponsored by the former Senate spokesman, Senator Abdullahi Sabi, is listed on the order paper and has passed first reading on Tuesday after Nelson Ayewoh, clerk of the senate, read the short title of the bill.
The bill entitled, ‘National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill 2019’ is coming a week after the senate introduced a bill to regulate social media.
Last week, the Senate passed through first reading the Protection from internet falsehood and manipulations Bill 2019.
The proposed legislation seeks to prevent the spreading and broadcasting of falsehood and manipulations using social media platforms via internet broadcasts and transmissions.
This Bill is reminiscent of the Social Media Bill which was introduced in the eight assembly but was not passed because of widespread condemnation of the bill which some Nigerians felt was intended to stifle freedom of expression.
The bill presented to the previous senate prescribed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person.
It said a crime is committed when: “A person publishes, presents, produces, plays, provides, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and/or visual, which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or persons from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.
“A person subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where, on ethnic grounds, he unjustifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or effect of (a) violating that other person’s dignity or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person subjected to the harassment.
“Conduct shall be regarded as having the effect specified in subsection (1) (a) or (b) of this section if, having regard to all the circumstances, including in particular the perception of that other person, it should reasonably be considered as having that effect.”