A media doyen who is also the Chief Executive Officer of a popular radio station ‘Rave fm’ in Osogbo, Osun State, Mr.Femi Adefila and the Director of Social Communications Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Osogbo, Rev.Fr. Francis Idowu have charged the Federal Government to desist from pursuing the cause of criminalizing hate speech but rather pay attention to the people’s cry and yearning.
The duo gave the charge during the commemoration of the Annual Human’s Right Day organized by the Justice Development and Peace Makers’ Centre (JDPMC) in Osogbo.
Adefila described the sponsored bill as inimical to humanity and attempted gag to the Freedom of Expression Act and spirit of Democracy, he added that purported bill capable of doing more harms to the nation than the purpose with which to be established.
He stressed further that the essence of nationhood could be traced to the level of priority placed on dignity to humanity and human’s right by its Government which thereby breeding patriotism and mutual respect. Saying that Freedom of Expression was only power of the citizens which they must not be denied.
“This development clearly shows that Media space is under a serious threat which can alternatively be described as a booby trap on the high way of freedom of Expression. I think the true essence of nationhood is largely depended on how Government has been able to demonstrate dignity to its people and strictly adhere to the sanctity of their individual and collective rights. This is what is obtainable in the developed countries and I hope, it not too bad if Nigeria takes a cue from this, for, it is this seed that breeds true fruit of patriotism”, he stated.
Speaking Rev.Fr. Idowu said “Man is free but he must not abuse his freedom. Hence, he must be considerate and wise in his speeches and actions. The reality of hate speech cannot be doubted because man is capable of living in the hatred of his neighbours. Nevertheless, the proposed bills remain a misplacement of priority considering the pressing needs of Nigeria,
One would expect Government to direct the arrowheads of their discredited bills on more productive ventures like enacting laws to tackle the dilapidated health infrastructure, collapsed education system, poverty, crimes, unemployment, corruption and terrorism in the country.”
The Director of National Human Rights Commission, Mr.Abayomi Ogundele noted that human’s right and freedom of expression are sacrosanct which must not be sacrificed on the altar of political interest. He also admonished Federal Government to get to the root cause of the production of hate speech and correct it once through amicable means by listening to the cry of the masses rather than forming a weapon of harmful bill against the people it serves.