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Initiator of hate speech bill insists on passage, says danger loom without legislation

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By Sylvanus Okpe

The initiator of the widely condemned Hate Speech Bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has raised an alarm over the imminent dangers in the country should lawmakers fail to pass the bill.

The Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate maintained that opponents of the Hate Speech Bill are ignorant of the dangers that loom if the bill is not passed into law.

In a statement he signed Sunday, Senator Abdullahi said the opponents were only pretending to protect ‘Freedom of Speech’ by misinforming Nigerians on the intent of the legislation before the National Assembly.

The lawmaker, therefore, warned Nigerians to beware of “false information being spilt out by some persons and groups parading themselves as serving the interest of the nation”. Citing a report by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on ‘Overcoming Dangerous Speech and Endemic Religious Divides in Central Nigeria’, Senator Sabi Abdullahi said persons with strong bias capable of escalating ethnic and religious violence are infiltrating the media.

According to him, such persons and groups are opposed to the passage of a Hate Speech law by the National Assembly as same would put an end to their trade that depends on using ethnic and religious bias for the realization of self-serving interests.

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