I will join protesters against Hate Speech Bill, say IBB

By Priscilla Campbell,

Minna

Nigeria’s former military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), has described the ‘Hate Speech’ bill before the National Assembly as an attempt to muzzle the voice of Nigerians.

He also said that he was ready to join stakeholders to protest against it.

Babangida stated this at his Minna Uphill residence while welcoming the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chief Christopher Isiguzo, who paid him a courtesy call.

He said that there was no basis for the bill at all.

Babangida said that a similar bill was presented before the 8th National Assembly and he advised against it, saying, “I am surprised that this bill has resurfaced.”

According to him, “There is no basis for this now we are developing and we should be allowed to develop. If we make mistakes people can be cautioned.”

IBB also said, “Unless people are able to express themselves the government or those in authority will know what is happening in the country. The only reason for the bill is that the sponsors want to show ‘eye service’.”

The elder statesman described the death penalty prescribed in the bill as crude, saying, “it is not 21st century it could have happened may be some 300 years ago but; not now.”

Against the backdrop, the former military president said that he was prepared to join the NUJ and other stakeholders in protesting against the passage of the bill.

He told the NUJ President, ” I am with you on this; I will also talk to those of us who could be in position to bring sanity to bare on some of these things”.

On the forth coming United States of America election, he said, “If we had their type of media I think they should be jailing you all by now.”

He then urged the Nigerian Media to remain strong and focussed on what Nigeria needs, insisting that the nation could only succeed if freedom is unfettered without death threat or N10 million.

The NUJ national president had appealed for the support of the elder statesman to stop the passage of the bill.

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