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Fayose cautions FG over plan to make hate speech treasonable





Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has cautioned the federal government over its categorisation of hate speeches as act of terrorism.

“This appears as another plot to silence the opposition and I make bold to say that saying the truth concerning the country and its rulers cannot
be termed as hate speech,” he said.
The governor, who accused the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the
number one promoter and beneficiary of hate speeches in the country,
noted that, “When the APC was looking for power, several provocative

statements were made. Nigerians are yet to forget President Muhammadu
Buhari’s ‘the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood’ hate
speeches and the threat by the APC to form a parallel government.”
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In a statement issued in Ado Ekiti on Friday, by his Special Assistant
on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor
Fayose, who said he was totally against hate speech and will support
any effort to curb it, added that it was important to caution the
federal government on the danger inherent in the blanket
categorisation of hate speech as treasonable.

He said “even if the APC government is sincere with its new found
hatred for hate speeches, the APC government must first apologise to
Nigerians for being the number one promoter and beneficiary of hate
speech.”

The governor counselled that rather than blanket criminalising of hate
speeches, the federal government should embark on reorientation of
Nigerians, especially the youths on the consequences of hate speeches
to the unity of the country and restore the confidence of the people
in the government.

The statement read; “I wish to express concern over the pronouncement
of the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo that hate speech will
henceforth be treated as terrorism.

“While I am totally against hate speech and will support any effort to
curb it, it is important to caution the federal government on the
danger inherent in the blanket categorisation of hate speech as
treasonable.

“I make bold to say that saying the truth concerning the country and
its rulers cannot be termed as hate speech.

“I only hope Nigeria is not being systematically returned to the
colonial days when the law of sedition was used to jail many of those
who fought for our independence or the era of Buhari’s military regime
when the notorious Public Officers (Protection against False
accusation) Decree 4 of 1984 was used to jailTunde Thompson and
NdukaIrabor, both of The Guardian newspapers for publishing what the
government termed as false.

“Most importantly, going by the APC government’s use of the so-called
anti-corruption fight to harass, intimidate, arrest and detain
opposition figures, there is no doubt that categorising whatever that
is termed as hate speech as act of terrorism is unconstitutional and
an attempt to gag Nigerians, especially the press.

“It should therefore not be seen that since the use of corruption to
harass, arrest and detain opposition figures is no longer fashionable,
hate speech will now be another instrument of oppression to be used
against opposition.

“The questions that must be answered by the federal government are;
what constitutes hate speech andwho determines it? Has the Presidency
becomes law unto itself such that it is now the one to determine what
is an offense and what punishment to be applied?

“From all intent and purposes, the Acting President pronouncement
which is obviously not backed by any legislation is an attempt to
provide reasons for an impending clampdown on opposition and Nigerians
will resist any attempt to mortgage their fundamental rights to
freedom of expression under the guise of hate speeches.

“When the APC was looking for power, several provocative statements were made.
Nigerians are yet to forget President Buhari’s “the dog and the baboon
would all be soaked in blood” hate speeches and the threat by the APC
to form a parallel government.

“What can be more treasonable than these statements made by President
Buhari and his party?

“It is also on record that during the 2011 election campaign,
President Buhari’s inciting statement led to widespread violence by
his supporters in the North after he lost. Over 1000 people were
slaughtered in cold blood, including innocent National Youth Service
Corp members.

“Therefore, even if the APC government is sincere with its new found
hatred for hate speeches, the APC government must first apologise to
Nigerians for being the number one promoter and beneficiary of hate
speech.

“Also, rather than this blanket criminalising of hate speeches, the
federal government should embark on reorientation of Nigerians,
especially the youths on the consequences of hate speeches to the
unity of the country while the confidence of the people in the ‎government (at all levels) must be restored.”

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Fayose cautions FG over plan to make hate speech treasonable
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