- Enoidem: Buhari’s using hate speech bill to Islamize Nigeria, run for third term
Efforts to sell the hate speech bill to Nigerians suffered a setback as an activist delivered a court judgement to President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, to guide the Senate from the further attempt to gag free speech in Nigeria.
The letter dated November 28, 2019, drew the attention of the Senate to the judgement of the Community Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) forbidding Nigerian government from criminalising free speech in whatever guise.
The letter was delivered by Mackay Chambers and Associates and reads in part: “We hereby inform you that, the exercise in pursuing this Hate Speeches Establishment Bill 2019 is one in futility and therefore, the taxpayers money should not be plunged into it, in view, of the Judgment of the ECOWAS Court which has been termed by the global community as a landmark Judgment, a trailblazer for the global freedom of expression.”
The judgement was the culmination of the arbitration in a case instituted by Festus Ogwuche and Anor vs the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The certified true copy of the judgement sighted by Tribune Online reads in part: That on Tuesday the 11th day of December 2018 in Suit no; ecw/ccj/app/ 10/15; judgment no; ecw ccj jud 31/18, quashed and forbids the Federal Republic of Nigeria from criminalizing free speech in whatever form, colour or clothing and barred her from free speech or press censorships enshrined and guaranteed under Article XIX of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and the ECOWAS protocol on Democracy and Good Governance.”
The judgement states that all these are covenants from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to which Nigerians enjoy its full declaration
The letter further stated that the hate speech bill runs contrary to section 22 and 39 of the Nigerian Constitution and other international convention to which Nigeria is a signatory.
According to the letter: “The Hate Speeches Establishment Bill 2019 is contrary to Section 22 and 39 of the 1999 Nigeria Constitution as amended which guarantees freedom of expression. It needs no saying that, any Law or Act that is or are contrary to the grand norm of the Constitution is null and void.
“The National Assembly under the leadership of our Distinguished Senator, Ahmed Lawan, haven chosen this ignoble road of willfully subjecting and making our Nigeria a laughing stock in the comity of nations beats our imaginations.
“There is the availability of sufficient Laws on offensive spoken words and actions with great and effectual remedies in our laws. It’s wrongful to attempt criminalizing freedom of expression for the traumatized citizens of
“It is absurd for Nigeria in the comity of nations on earth to be heard singing these ignoble songs rather than creating the conducive environment for freedom of Speech and enterprises for her rapidly growing populations.
“In View of this Judgment, the National Assembly of Nigeria is, therefore, acting contrary to the core terms of the Judgment in terms of the citizens’ rights; it protects, to embark on the facilitation of the Hate Speeches Establishment Bill 2019.
“This Judgment clearly forbids the Federal Republic of Nigeria sued in this case as the Defendant from further violating Nigerians citizens’ rights to freedom of speech being a matter that was initiated within the public interest advocacy mechanism.
“It would not be seen that Nigeria as an entity would have her legislature act in defiance of her international obligations freely entered into and in the face of a valid subsisting Court Judgement.
“Freedom of speech being an entrenched Fundamental Human Rights provided for in the Nigerian Constitution and this Right is fully preserved by the Judgment of the Regional Court afore said. It is completely out of the way for the Nigeria legislature to attempt to facilitate the enactment of any law that infringes the rights protected by the said Judgment of the Regional Court.”
Speaking further on the matter, Barrister Daniel Makolo said the silence of the Attorney General of the Federation was misleading to the National Assembly in the face of the aforementioned judgement of the Regional Court.
He urged Lawan to show the way of global best practices in line With international obligations entered into freely by Nigeria in halting immediately the ignoble debate, inclusive of all processes on the Hate Speeches Establishment Bill 2019 in the public and national security interest of Nigeria, her friends in the International communities and her noble citizens.
Enoidem: Buhari’s using hate speech bill to Islamize Nigeria, run for third term
President Muhammadu Buhari has been accused by the National Legal Adviser of Peoples Democratic Party, Emmanuel Enoidem, of planning a third term and Islamization agenda through the hate speech bill.
The PDP Legal Adviser stated that the hate speech bill will be used against individuals who criticize the third term and Islamization of Nigeria’s agenda of President Buhari.
Enoidem while speaking with newsmen in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital, noted that the hate speech bill was a prototype of Decree 4 enacted by Buhari when he was the Military Head of State.
He further stated that the proposed bill will impact negatively on the nation, he, therefore, declared the bill before the National Assembly as “criminal and an insult” to the image of Nigeria.
According to Enoidem: “The hate speech bill being considered by the National Assembly is the worst form of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience bill that is being proposed by any country in the world whether under military or otherwise. It is very negative in intention, it is criminal in action.”
“This is akin to Decree 4. But if you look at Decree 4 and compare it to the provision of the proposed bill, you will know that it has more negative provision than the one proposed by the military.”
“Who defines what is hate speech? If the press keeps quiet about it, they would become the first victim. It is better we stand up and speak against this evil that is coming. The bill is very insulting to the common conscience of the country, it is very insulting to the image of the country, and is very damaging to all of us. We need to stand up and speak against it as a people.”
“This bill has two major focus in view: It is going to be a major instrument if Buhari fails to translate himself into 3rd term, because that proposal is in the mill, he will use it as a religious weapon against those who will come against the Islamization of Nigeria. You don’t have to believe it, but it will happen.”
“The Ruga project that was stood down is being reactivated in a very subtle manner. They have some vendors now who go about acquiring land because the Federal Government has given Miyetti Allah N100 billion but they are still insisting on the remaining N50 billion because they demanded for N150 billion. That money is for them to buy land privately in different locations in the country, now that is a penetration strategy.”
“As I talk to you, even in Akwa Ibom, the vendors are here to acquire land in the pretense that they want to build hospitals etc. Eventually, the Hausas will come and settle there, colonize the place and make the place a Northern enclave.”
“This law that they have proposed was supposed to come as an executive bill but they brought in somebody to sponsor it for them as a private bill because they know that if it comes as an executive bill, the intention will be seen through.”