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‘Hate speech is the cause of violence in Nigeria’ — Abdullahi defends ‘controversial’ bill

‘Hate speech is the cause of violence in Nigeria’ — Abdullahi defends ‘controversial’ bill
November 26
12:43 2019

Sabi Abdullahi, senator representing Niger north and sponsor of the bill seeking to “curb hate speech” says the proposed legislation will tackle violence in Nigeria.

Speaking when he featured on a Channels TV programme on Tuesday, Abdullahi said hate speech is the cause of violence in Nigeria.

The national commission for the prohibition of hate speech bill, which was recently introduced in the senate, has been widely criticised.

The bill among other things proposes death penalty for anyone who is guilty of hate speech that leads to another’s death.


Abdullahi said he introduced the bill upon discovering that violence in Nigeria has been an aftermath of one form of hate speech or another.

The senator said hate speeches have incited attacks and reprisals at various times in the country, and that the bill will help curb this.

“From what I have studied, both from a lot of scholars that have gone on the subject of violence in the country, there is a conclusion that almost all the violence is preceded by hate speech,” he said.


“Yes there may be a crisis between groups, but what will lead to violence is that somebody must have said something that is inciting to violence and that is how people who are innocent will fall victims, losing their lives and livelihood for no just cause because somebody somewhere is irresponsible enough to incite other people to that violence.

“What is the cause of the violence? Hate speech is at the root of it. When we talk about hate speech, the issue of incitement comes in.”

He added that having agreed “there is a problem of hate speech,” it is time for Nigeria to tackle hate speech and that the engagement process of the bill is still on.

“The beauty of democracy is that we are able to engage, have a conversation and talk through the issue whether good or bad and at the end of the day, if there is a consensus there will be room for action,” he said.


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