Godiya Akwashiki, acting spokesman of the senate, says the bill seeking to prohibit hate speech in the country has nothing to do with the “third term bid of President Muhammadu Buhari”.
There have been allegations that the bill is meant to pave way for an alleged third term of Buhari.
But speaking with reporters on Monday, Akwashiki said the president does not have anything to do with bill, adding that Nigerians do not have anything to be afraid of.
Sabi Abdullahi, deputy chief whip of the senate, is the sponsor of the bill.
“There is nothing for Nigerians to be afraid of in the hate speech bill. The bill was just read for the first time, it will go back for second reading and you and me have the opportunity to speak for or against the bill,” he said.
“It is the right of the senator to sponsor a bill tagged ‘private senator bill’ even if we have executive bill. But the hate speech bill before the senate is a private senator’s bill. Mr President has nothing to do with this issue.
“It has nothing to do with third term agenda. It has nothing to do with Islamising this country. Spokesmen of political parties should mind the way they speak. We should be peace lovers and peace keepers.”
Also speaking with journalists, the sponsor of the bill said he is not deterred from going ahead with bill despite death threats.
“I am not a coward. I am a full blown Nigerian. I have no reason to shy away from my responsibility,” Abdullahi said.
‘I have received all kinds of messages some even including threats but I am not bothered about that. In all of these, if I receive one commendation, it gladdens my heart and I did receive many commendations and one stood out and said there is so much hate in this country. We must check it.
“If you meet those who have lost their loved ones arising from religious or ethnicity intolerance, and the like, I don’t think they will be smiling with you when you tell them hate speech is nonsense or does not exist.
“They have felt, seen and are living as victims of hate speech. When laws are put in place and no offence is committed, those laws become redundant.”