The Senator representing Anambra Central Senatorial District, Iyom Uche Ekwunife has said that the Hate Speech Bill presently before the Senate, would not fly.
The Hate Speech Bill passed first reading in the Senate last week.
Responding to the apprehension of some of her constituents and followers over the said bill, the Senator assured them that it would be rejected when it comes for debate at second reading.
Ekwunife in a statement yesterday, said the bill would fail because of its infringement to the fundamental rights of Nigerian citizens.
She said, “That the Bill has passed First Reading in the Senate should not be a cause for concern to anyone. In our law making process, First Reading is merely a proposal for the Bill to be read a second time and the process is automatic.
“I can assure you that when the Bill is up for the Second Reading, like all other Bills, the proposed Hate Speech Bill will be subjected to a very rigorous debate in the Senate Chambers. It is at this point that all your anxieties and wishes will be brought to bear.
“I want to assure you that I and my colleagues at the Senate would never allow any bill which does not fully reflect the true wishes and interests of Nigerians to pass Second Reading.
Sen. Ekwunife noted there was already the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015 and other statutes that has provisions to deal with issues of hate speech hence any other regulations would be unnecessary as it amounts to duplication.
She said, “I am aware that the provisions of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act, 2015 and other statutes already have provisions and penalties for hate speech and consequently, any other bill which seeks to regulate these same areas would be duplicitous and unnecessary.
“Furthermore, Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, guarantees to all Nigerian citizens, a fundamental right to Freedom of Expression. Therefore, to the extent that this Hate Speech Bill seeks to abridge the fundamental rights of Nigerians, guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution, I will vehemently oppose it as being inconsistent with the Supremacy Clause of the 1999 Constitution as enshrined in section 1 subsection (3) of our constitution.
“I therefore urge you all to remain patient and law abiding, as I assure you that this Hate Speech Bill, to the extent of it’s infringement to the fundamental rights of Nigerian Citizens, will be rejected by me totally.”