The Senate has proposed death by hanging for anybody found guilty of Hate Speech in the country in a reintroduced Bill.
The Bill was first presented in the 8th Senate for consideration, but was stepped down.
The bill however was revived by the ninth Senate as it was passed into first reading on Tuesday.
The Bill seeks to set up an agency to prohibit hate speech in the country.
The Bill, titled: “National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches (Establishment, etc) Bill, 2019,” is being sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, who is also the representative of Niger North Senatorial District, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
The bill was first sponsored by Senator Sabi in the eight Senate.
The bill states: “Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.”
On Hate Speech, the Bill provides: “A person who uses, publishes, presents, produces, plays, provided, distributes and/or directs the performance of any material, written and or visual which is threatening, abusive or insulting or involves the use of threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour commits an offence if such person intends thereby to stir up ethnic hatred, or having regard to all the circumstances, ethnic hatred is likely to be stirred up against any person or person from such an ethnic group in Nigeria.
“Any person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.
“In this section, ethnic hatred means hatred against a group if person’s from any ethical group indigenous today Nigeria.”
On discrimination against persons, the Bill also provides: “For the purpose of this act, a person who discriminates against another person if on ethnic grounds the person without any lawful justification treats another Nigerian citizen less favourably than he treats or would treat other person from his ethnic or another ethnic group and/or that on grounds of ethnicity a person put another person at a particular disadvantage when compared with other persons from other nationality of Nigeria.
“A person also discriminates against another person if, in any circumstances relevant for the purposes referred to in subsection (1) (b), he applies to that person of any provision, criterion or practice which he applies or would apply equally to persons not of the same race, ethnic or national origins as that other.”
On harassment on the basis of ethnicity, the Bill further provides: “A person (who) subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity for the purposes of this section where on ethnic grounds, he justifiably engages in a conduct which has the purpose or effect of: a) Violating that other person’s dignity or b) Creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for the person subjected to the harassment.
“Conduct shall be regarded as having the effect specified in subsection (1) (a) or (b) of this section if, having regard to all circumstances, including in particular the perception of that other person, it should reasonably be considered as saying that effect.
“A person who subjects another to harassment on the basis of ethnicity commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to an imprisonment for a term not less than ten years, or to a fine of not less than Ten million Naira, or to both.”
On Offence of ethnic or racial contempt, the Bill provides: “Any person who knowingly utters words to incite feelings of contempt, hatred, hostility, violence or discrimination against any person, group or community on the basis of ethnicity or race, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction be liable to imprisonment for a term not less than five years, or to a fine of not less than Ten million Naira, or to both.”
On Discrimination by way of victimisation, the Bill provides: “A person victimises another if in any circumstance relevant for the purpose of this Act, the person does any act that is injurious to the wellbeing and esteem of another person by U eating the person to less favorably than, in those circumstances, such person treats or would treat other persons, and does so by reason that the person victimised has:
“(a) Made a complaint under this Act; (b) Otherwise done anything under or by reference to this, (c) Given evidence or information in connection with proceedings brought by any person against any other person under this Act; or (d) By reason that the person who has violated the provision(s) of this Act knows that the persons victimised intend to do any of those things, or suspects that the person victimised has done or intend to do, any of them.
“A person who subjects or threatens to subject another person to any detriment because the other person, or a person associated with the other person: (i) has made a complaint against any person; (ii) has brought any other proceedings under this Act against any person; (iii) has given evidence or information, or produced a document, in connection with any proceedings under this Act; (iv) has otherwise done anything in accordance with this Act in relation to any person;
“(v) has contravened a provision of Pan III, unless the allegation is false and was not made in good faith; (vi) has refused to do anything in accordance the allegation is false and was made in good faith;
“(b) fails to comply with a notice by the Commission under section 57; (c) hinders or obstructs a Commissioner, member of staff of the Commission 01′ the Secretary in the exercise of powers or the performance of functions under this Act;
“(d) uses insulting language towards a Commissioner, member of staff of the Commission or the Secretary when the member Commissioner, Member of staff 01 Secretary is exercising powers or performing functions under this Act; or
“(e) gives any information 01‘ makes any statement to the Commission, the Secretary or a person acting on behalf of the Commission or the Secretary in exercise of powers or the performance of functions under this Act which the person knows is false or misleading in any material particular, commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of two million naira or to imprisonment for a term not less than twelve months or both.”
On Offences by body of persons, the Bill said: “In the case of an offence under this Act committed by a body of persons (a) where the body of persons is a body corporate, every director, trustee and officer of that body corporate shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence; and
“(b) where the body of persons is a firm, every partner of that firm shall also be deemed to be guilty of that offence.”