The federal government says hate speech is already covered in the cybercrime act of 2015.
Gbemisola Saraki, minister of state for transportation, said this at the end of Wednesday’s federal executive council (FEC) meeting.
There has been an outrage across the nation since the senate reintroduced the “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill 2019”, now known as “hate speech bill”, on Tuesday.
The bill prescribes death by hanging for any person found guilty of any form of hate speech that results in the death of an individual.
While responding to a question on the reintroduction of the bill, Saraki said the death sentence being proposed is already covered in the cybercrime act.
“Let me just address the issue on hate crime and the bill before the national assembly. Like you rightly said it’s a bill, it’s not yet law,” she said.
“So the sponsor of the bill might have might have put the death penalty there. I think we are jumping the gun a bit, like you said he is proposing the bill is not yet an act.
“Be that as it may, I think the cybercrime act, there is a law already in Nigeria, the cybercrime act that has the hate speech aspect in it. The reason I am not privileged to know the sponsor of the particular bill that you mentioned but there is a law.
“I stand to be corrected, I think it was passed 2014/2015. I am not particularly sure but there is a law that takes care.
“Because cybercrime now a major issue and as you know internationally, the world over everybody is concerned about it being the new frontier to fight crime. So hate speech is within that cybercrime aspect.”
The cybercrime act 2015 prescribes death penalty for an offence committed against a system or network that has been designated critical or results in the death of an individual.