The Nigerian senate says hate speech bill will be discarded only if it realises that the bill could cause crisis or bring about hardship for Nigerians.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday, the vice-chairman of senate committee on media, Godiya Akwashiki, said that there is no cause for alarm over the bill, urging Nigerians to exercise patience since the bill had only been called for first reading.
The proposed legislation was reintroduced on Tuesday shortly after the upper legislative chamber introduced a bill to regulate social media.
Many Nigerians including former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar have opposed the bill described as an attempt to clamp down on freedom of speech in the country.
Akwashiki, however, said whether it will be passed or not depends on the impact it would have on the lives of Nigerians.
“If it is a bill that will represent the wishes and interests, it would scale second reading. (But) if it is a bill that would create hardship, or bring crisis for the people of Nigeria, I want to assure that it will be thrown out on the floor of the Senate by other senators when it comes for second reading,” he said.
“Yes, it has not been mentioned for the second time on the floor of the senate; even if it scales second reading, it will protect your interests and give immunity without fear or favour. I want to assure you.
He also urged Nigerians to be patient and allow the bill go through the normal legislative process, especially as the bill had only been called for first reading.
“I want to urge Nigerians to exercise patience with the senate because it is not wise or legally right for me to discuss a bill that has not been mentioned for the second time on the floor of the senate,” he said
“It is just like you are trying to discuss somebody’s sickness when you have not approached a doctor. I want to urge you to be patient, when the Bill comes for second then you will know where the bill is heading.”