From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Federal Government has revealed that an Executive Bill will be sent to the National Assembly which, if passed into law, will spell out harsh punishment for perpetrators of hate speeches in the country.
Minister of Interior, Lt. General Abdulrahman Dambazau (retd) made the disclosure after appearing before the National Working Committee (NWC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Abuja, to update the committee on the performance of his ministry.
Reacting to the effects of hate speeches, currently trending on the social media, the minister said the draft bill is already with the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami for onward transmission to both chambers of the National Assembly.
Asked why it has become difficult for his ministry to hunt down the perpetrators of hate speeches, he said: “What we have done now is to submit a draft bill to the Ministry of Justice on hate speech, which will go as an Executive Bill after passing through the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.
“The draft contains the laws and punishment for hate speeches. This should not be allowed in this country. Everybody is entitled to belong to his religion and no one chose the tribe he wants to be born.
“That is how God wants the person to be and there is absolutely no reason for hate speech. If the National Assembly passes the bill, certainly, anybody who engages in hate speech will be prosecuted in accordance with the law of the country,” he said.
He equally spoke on the church killing in Ozubulu in Anambra State, insisting that the Federal Government is still awaiting comprehensive report on the issue. The minister, however, denied speculation that the killing was as a result of a war between drug barons.
“I have spoken with the governor of Anambra State and he told me that it was an issue bordering on a relationship between two persons from the same village resident somewhere in South Africa. As a result, one of them arranged the violent attack.
“I have not received the detailed report of that incident. But, whether there is speculation that those two persons are involved in drug peddling and trafficking, I am still awaiting the detailed report. However, as I said, I have spoken to the governor who confirmed that it was a rift between two persons from the same village, resident in South Africa,” he emphasised.
On his biggest achievement in the two years he has served as a minister, he said: “As you know, I have five agencies under my ministry, including the Nigeria Police, Immigration, Prisons, Civil Defence and Federal Fire Services. Each of these services has a unique stand and I can tell you that we have recorded far-reaching achievements in terms of their reforms.”
“We have drawn out policies that would enable them to meet their contemporary challenges. Again, we have ensured that these policies are adequately implemented. While some have been completed, others are ongoing. Therefore, I can tell you that we have done much more than what we met.” (The Sun)