The Federal Government has declared that an existing law, the Cyber Crimes Act, is already taking care of hate speeches.
The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki made the remark while briefing State House correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting presided over by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa.
She spoke at the backdrop of the bill sponsored by the former Senate Spokesman in the 8th Senate and now Deputy Chief Whip, Abdullahi Sabi, entitled “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Est. etc) Bill, 2019 (SB 154).’
Answering question on the perspective of the Federal Government on the Hate Speech Bill as regards the proposed death penalty which has passed through First Reading in the Senate, Senator Saraki said that even if the bill has proposed death penalty on hate speech, it did not mean that the bill will retain its particulars when passed into law.
She said “Let me just address the issue on hate crime and the bill before National Assembly. Like you rightly said it’s a bill, it’s not yet law. So the sponsor of the bill might have might have put the death penalty there. I think we are jumping the gun a bit. Like you said, he is proposing a bill, it is not yet an act.
“Be that as it may, I think the Cybercrime Act is a law already in Nigeria. The Cybercrime Act has the hate speech aspect in it. The reason I am not privilege to know the sponsor of the particular bill that you mentioned but there is a law, I stand to be corrected I think it was passed 2014/2015 I am not particularly sure but there is a law that takes care of…
“Because Cybercrime is now a major issue and as your know internationally, the world over everybody is concerned about it being the new frontier to fight crime. So hate speech is within that cybercrime aspect.”