Monday, November 18, 2019
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Hate Speech Bill seeks justice for ALUU 4, others – Senator Abdullahi

…Death penalty, other punitive terms very open to amendments

ADEKUNLE ADESUJI, Abuja

The Deputy Whip of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has said the Anti-hate Speech Bill presently before the National Assembly seeks to ensure justice for Nigerians who are victims of hate speech contrary to widespread speculations.

In a statement he issued in Abuja on Monday, the lawmaker explained that the bill would ensure justice for Nigerians who were wrongfully accused and killed.

Abdullahi disclosed that the lawmakers were already working in agreement to see that adjustments are made to the death penalty and other punitive terms contained in the bill.

The Senate’s Deputy Whip, who recalled the brutal murder of Tekena, Lloyd, Ugonna and Chidiaka in 2014, said the University of Port-Harcourt students were victims of hate speech.

According to him, the bill if passed into law without a death penalty would ensure justice for the victims and their families by ensuring that the perpetrators face the weight of the law accordingly.

He added that the proposed bill seeks to protect the lives of Nigerians against undue manipulations by mischievous elements in society.

The lawmaker debunked insinuations that the bill was targeted at giving President Muhammadu Buhari Administration a third term in office, describing the insinuation as a smear campaign by political merchants who do not wish Nigeria well.

Abdullahi also bemoaned the increasing rate of suicides and depression among Nigerian youths, attributing the development to societal values which breed intense hate.

He, however, stated that the death penalty for anyone found culpable of using hate speech that leads to the death of another, is an aspect that will be subject to an amendment when the bill is eventually considered and goes through a public hearing.

“The death penalty is not definite like some Nigerians are making it seem. In the National Assembly, bills go through legislative processes. The concerns on the death penalty are genuine and will be amended accordingly.

During these processes, amendments are made to fine-tune the bill in meeting with existing realities.

“Therefore, the hate speech bill will go through these processes to ensure Nigerians get the best out of the proposed bill,” Senator Abdullahi said.

“If passed, the bill will ensure justice for Nigerians who are silent victims of hate speech. As we speak, statistics show that so many Nigerians are depressed and suicidal. This is as a result of the way our society is presently wired.

“We live in a hate-filled society in Nigeria and need an existing law to address this. In Kenya, they found the need to address the associated Ills of hate speech and they are now better for it with the introduction of laws in that direction.

“In 2014, if you recall, four university of Port Harcourt students were unjustly murdered in cold blood as a result of hate speech. So many others have died as a result of wrong accusations. It is time to put a stop to these gruesome killings through hate speech,” Abdullahi said.

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Akpoti says Bello ordered her assassination

The Social Democratic Party, SDP, governorship candidate in Kogi State, Natasha Akpoti, has alleged that Yahaya Bello has ordered her assassination.

She made this statement on Monday via her official twitter page. Akpoti wrote: “Gov Yahaya Bello has ordered for my assassination.”

Recall that Akpoti on Sunday called for the cancellation of the ongoing gubernatorial election in Kogi Central and part of Lokoja, the state capital.

Akpoti said that “what happened in Kogi Central and other parts of the state was a far cry from a credible election,” hence the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, should cancel the elections and conduct a rerun.

She made the call in a statement she personally signed and issued on Sunday.

According to Akpoti: “Ballot boxes were destroyed and burnt in Okene, Adavi, Ajaokuta and Ogori Magongo and Okehi Local government areas and other parts of the state.”

She added that her party’s official agents were tied and intimidated.

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Bayelsa poll: Frank congratulates Lyon, urges Secondus to resign 
A Political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Monday, congratulated the Governor-elect of Bayelsa state, David Lyon, describing his victory as deserving.
Frank in a statement in Abuja also urged National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus and the National Working Committee (NWC) led by him to apologise or resign over the loss of a state controlled by the party since 1999.
“This victory was not won by the APC but by the people of Bayelsa who have resisted imposition and oppression with their blood because of their implicit confidence in the capacity of Lyon to transform the state and change their story for the better,” he said.
He called on Lyon to be magnanimous in victory and to serve as a dependable rallying point for all Bayelsans irrespective of their political affiliations, ethnicity or creed.
Frank said: “Your victory is not an APC’s mandate but that of the the collective will of the people of Bayelsa. Please when you assume office, strive to use it to unite the people of Bayelsa because the state can only attain true peace, development and greatness when united.
“Bayelsa has been divided for too long, but you have been chosen to heal their wounds and wipe their tears.
“Bayelsa has elected you Governor, it is now your turn to govern Bayelsa and cater for all Bayelsans.
“What you do from now will prove whether the confidence now reposed in you by the majority of Bayelsans was misplaced or you will justify their hopes and aspirations by carrying all stakeholders, including those who contested against you, along in your efforts to realise the Bayelsan dream and thus build a greater state we can all be proud to bequeath to upcoming generations.
“Your opponents during the election equally have lofty ideals and ideas for the advancement of the state. Therefore, embrace and work with them in the quest to realise the overall objective of governance which is the welfare and security of the people of the state.”
Frank prayed for the repose of the souls that were lost during the just concluded exercise and equally commiserated with the families of the victims.
“These innocent Bayelsans whose lives have been brutally cut short died in the service of the state. They paid the supreme sacrifice to make Bayelsa great. Let these deaths, injuries and property destroyed not be in vain.
“I urge you to immediately set up a truth and reconciliation committee to appraise all that transpired before, during and after the election, with a view to ensure holistic healing and reunification of the various interests in the state.”
Frank noted that the emergence of Lyon as Governor-Elect has vindicated his position that the PDP had chosen to relinquish the governance of Bayelsa to the opposition APC when it decided to field a weak candidate against a popular aspirant who could have steered the party to victory.
He called on the National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus and the National Working Committee (NWC) led by him, to immediately apologise to all leaders and members of the party in Bayelsa State in particular and the country in general, or resign their positions for deliberately trading the party’s political capital and dominance in the state for a pot of porridge.
“Secondus and the NWC knew what to do but they neglected to do it. This defeat is directly attributable to their poor choices, myopic political calculations and selfishness.
“It is our hope that the outcome of the Bayelsa State governorship election will serve as a lesson to the party to field popular candidates in future elections. The era of imposition is over. Take note,” he said.

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