By Bukola Olasanmi
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has cautioned against toying with the idea of Anti-Hate Speech Bill, with punishment for supposed hate speech to be death by hanging.
Atiku, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media, Paul Ibe, said the contemplation of such laws was in itself not just hate speech, but an abuse of the legislative process that would violate Nigerians’ constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of speech.
Atiku, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democragic Party in the February 23, 2019 poll, said those who governed the nation between 1999 and 2015 never toyed with the freedom of Nigerians.
“It is prudent to build upon the tolerance inherited from those years and not shrink the democratic space to satisfy personal and group interests. “Freedom of speech was not just bestowed to Nigerians by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), it is also a divine right given to all men by their Creator. History is littered with the very negative unintended consequences that result when this God given right is obstructed by those who seek to intimidate the people rather than accommodate them.”