Hate speech bill, needless and unwarranted – Afe Babalola
Victor Akinkuolie, Ado-Ekiti
A legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD) Chief Afe Babalola, has described the proposed hate speech bill by the Senate as needless, unwarranted and a slide to dictatorship.
Babalola, said it was neeedless and unwarranted for anyone to contemplate another law to deal with false publications, when there were laws already promulgated to take care of such situation in the constitution of Nigeria.
The bill, sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Abdullahi, has passed the first reading at the Senate, prescribing death penalty for anyone found guilty of spreading a falsehood that led to the death of another person.
The legal luminary spoke at ABUAD in Ado Ekiti on Wednesday, when the leadership of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ekiti council, led by its Chairman, Comrade Rotimi Ojomoyela presented award of excellence to the Legal Icon to appreciate his contributions to humanity and national development.
The legal icon noted that the provisions of the proposed bill in its entirety clearly contravene section 39 of the 1999 constitution, which guarantee freedom of speech.
Lampooning the champions of the bill, Babalola said: “This is the beginning of dictatorship.There are enough laws like defamation, libel and slander to deal with anybody who publishes falsehood against someone and it comes by way of taking the person to court.
Speaking about the emasculation of the country’s judiciary, Babalola said nothing good can come from the temple of Justice in an environment where judges were being intimidated.
He urged the federal government to focus attention on the rehabilitation of the dilapidating federal roads in Ekiti, saying all the roads in the state are in bad shape.
On the strategic position occupied by ABUAD as an institution and the 400 bed multi system Afe Babalola Teaching hospital, Babalola said: “a white man came to assess my university a while ago and that hospital .