Death penalty for hate speech is invitation to anarchy – Niger APC chieftain

.Says APC rode to power in 2015 through hate speech

By Priscilla Campbell, Minna
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State, Comrade Jonathan Vatsa, has faulted the proposed bill by the APC-controlled Senate, seeking death penalty for any individual convicted for hate speech.
He said that allowing such idea to fly was an invitation for anarchy.
Expressing surprise at such move, Vatsa, the former Publicity Secretary of the party in the state, said that the APC rode to power in 2015 through hate speech.
The Niger APC stalwart argued that if such a 'draconian and unpopular law' is allowed by the APC-controlled Senate, it would not only be laughable but a direct invitation for anarchy that is capable of consuming the country.

Vatsa, who was also a former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism in the state said, "We (APC) brought hate speech to Nigeria politics and I am one of them. As a publicity secretary of the APC, I know how we used hate speech to mobilize Nigerians against the then ruling party, and it paid off because Nigerians eventually hated the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).”
Explaining that before 2015, Nigerians did not know anything like hate speech, he insisted, "The truth must be told, we are the architect of hate speech and nobody complained about it. We enjoyed it and it worked for us.
"If we think we have failed Nigerians in our change promises, we should be bold enough to tell Nigerians that we are sorry, we couldn't deliver, but to try to cage them by trying to introduce or recycle Decree 4 of 1984 in the name of hate speech is unacceptable".
Vatsa said that rather than proposing death penalty for hate speech offenders, the Senate should seek for death penalty for corrupt leaders in this country because "corruption and injustice gave birth to what they are now calling hate speech".
"If there is justice, equity, fairness and respect for rule of law, there will be no hate speech. But when people are being marginalized and denied their right, surely there will be hate speech. You can not stop people from expressing their freedom of speech.
"If the Senate is proposing death penalty for hate speech, then what will they do to Boko Haram, armed bandits, kidnappers, oil bunkerers and treasury looters both politicians and civil servants. All these things are worst than hate speech.
"There are more pressing issues to Nigerians that the Senate should look into and address instead of wasting their energy on an unpopular bill like this one that will not see the light of the day".
The APC stalwart further stated: "If the rumour of President Buhari nursing the ambition of third term is correct, then they need death penalty for hate speech to silence everybody who will want to oppose him.
"But the Senate should know that he who lives in a glass house should not throw stone because they cannot be there forever. When they leave the Senate the law can catch up with them.
"Again, if the money meant for constituency projects are utilized for the purpose it was meant for and the people began to see dividends of democracy there will be need for hate speech.”

He therefore urged the 9th Assembly to also propose a bill that will apply for lands in the 36 states including the federal capital territory, Abuja as it did for Ruga to be used as cemetery for hate speech offenders that will be killed.

"I call on Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi to propose a bill that will ensure we have separate cemetery for offenders so that we can have it as tourist's sites with inscriptions 'Hate Speech' cemetery, because the offenders may also include those of us who have benefitted from hate speech. What a shame."

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