BY VICTOR BUORO, ABUJA – The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned in its entirety, what it described as “the savage, repressive, cruel and murderous intents of the hate speech ‘prohibition’ bill,” which seeks stringent punishment, including death by hanging as penalty.
It stressed that the resurfacing of the cruel bill in the Senate, after Nigerians vehemently rejected it last year, only points to the incurable desperation of the APC Federal Government to suppress and crush the will of the citizens at all cost.
The party also pointed out that the provisions of the bill are deliberately hazy and nebulous with the malicious intention to victimize innocent Nigerians.
The PDP in a statement said that in as much as it does not condone hate speech under any guise, it however rejects the bill as unconstitutional, undemocratic and a barbarous design targeted at official extermination of the voice of dissent and perceived opponents of the All Progressives Congress (APC)-led Federal Government.
The PDP statement which was signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan noted that the nation already has enough constitutional provisions and extant laws to safeguard a sane and healthy public expression space and cannot allow such cruel law devised to victimize and persecute the citizens, ostensibly as a regime protection measure.
According to the PDP; “Such laws can only find space in Hitler’s Germany, Mussolini’s Italy, Idi Amin’s Uganda and not in this era or in a democratic state such as Nigeria.
“Such obnoxious laws are characteristics of known anti-democratic regimes, as prelude to their suspension or abolition of constitutional provisions to set the stage for totalitarianism.
“Our party holds that, if allowed to pass, the hate speech ‘prohibition’ bill, with its savage provisions, would destroy our democratic order, strip our constitutional provisions, the rights of citizens and usher in a full-blown despotism in Nigeria.”
The PDP therefore challenged the proponents of the bill to start by condemning and setting penalties for those behind the ‘body bag’ comments as well as the ‘baboon and the dog blood’ narrative, which led to bloody unrest and the death of many innocent Nigerians.
According to Ologbondiyan; “Our party therefore cautions the APC and its Federal Government to retrace their steps and withdraw the noxious bill.”
The PDP also charged the National Assembly to protect the nation by throwing away the bill and, if anything, use its legislative instruments to strengthen the nation’s institutions and authorities vested with regulation of public expression in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended).