Senate President Ahmad Lawan has asked Nigerians to mobilise against the proposed hate speech bill if they do not want it.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja on Monday, the senate president said it is up to Nigerians to decide, at the public hearing, if the bill should be passed or not.
In November, Sabi Abdullahi senator representing Niger north, sponsored the bill, which has sparked widespread criticism across the country. It proposed death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of another person, the lawmaker later promised that the death sentence would be reviewed.
The bill also proposed that in the case of an offence committed by a body of persons where the body of persons is a corporate body, every director, trustee and officer of that body corporate shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence.
It also recommended the establishment of a commission to be known as the Independent National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches.
However, Lawan said the bill is for every interested person and not for members of the national assembly alone.
“I answered something at the beginning about hate speech. Hate speech (bill) is one issue that has elicited so much reaction from Nigerians,” Lawan said.
“Personally, I’m happy that everybody is talking. It is not up to members of the national assembly alone to deal with the hate speech bill.
“Like I said at the beginning, it is for every interested person. If you say the hate speech bill should not pass, when they would conduct the public hearing, get as many people against the hate speech bill as possible to attend the public hearing and make their case.
“I am sure it is better for me stop talking about hate speech so that I don’t also engage in hate speech.”