Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Senate Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, the sponsor of the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech (Establishment) Bill 2019 has hinted that the death penalty has been dropped.
The bill prescribes that any person who commits this offence shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the courtesy visit by the Niger State eminent citizens to President Muhammadu Buhari, Abdulahi who likened the bill to the saying that a baby should not be thrown away with the bath water, disclosed a robust engagement was going to take out the contentious death penalty provision.
The lawmaker, however, insisted he stands by his argument while putting forward the bill.
According to him, “I think what I want to say first and foremost is that because the baby is dirty or the water is dirty should not lead to a situation where we take the baby and the bad water and throw away.
“I believe the hate speech bill which I am sponsoring, the most contentious issue that drew people’s concern was the death penalty and I recall vividly at that particular instance I issued a statement that as a sponsor of the bill, at the appropriate time, I will ensure that the death penalty is put away such that no matter what the punitive measure is, we can all agree on what it should be.
“But whether we desire a hate speech bill, my answer is capital yes. And my reasons are not far fetched. That particular bill is designed to address at least something that is fundamental and has been going on for the past 40,50 years in this country.
“And it is assuming a new dimension that if we don’t control it, we don’t want to have something like it happened in Rwanda for example. I think the essence of the bill is to prevent discrimination such that it leads to hostility and even death in some instances as it has happened.”