The hate speech bill presently before the Senate is not necessary, according to Nigeria’s Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki.
Ms. Saraki believes the CyberCrime Act already has provisions and penalties for hate speech, so looking into it again is merely a waste of time.
She revealed this after the Federal Executive Council meeting on Wednesday while reacting to the reintroduction of the ‘hate speech’ bill.
Her words, “Be that as it may, I think the Cybercrime Act, there is a law already in Nigeria, the cybercrime Act that has the hate speech aspect in it. The reason I am not privileged to know the sponsor of the particular bill that you mentioned, but there is a law. I stand to be corrected, I think it was passed in 2014/2015 I am not particularly sure but there is a law that takes care of…
“Because cybercrime is now a major issue and as you know internationally, the world over, everybody is concerned about it being the new frontier to fight crime. So hate speech is within that cybercrime aspect,”
“The Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention etc.) Act 2015 which was signed into law by former President Goodluck Jonathan, outlaws “cyberstalking” and stipulates that “any person who knowingly or intentionally sends a message or other matter by means of computer systems or network that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character or causes any such message or matter to be so sent; or
“He knows to be false, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to another or causes such a message to be sent commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction to a fine of not more than N7,000,000.00 or imprisonment for a term of not more than 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
Section 2 of the legislation further stated that any person who intentionally transmits any communication through a computer system or network to bully, threaten or harass another person, where such communication places another person in fear of death, violence or bodily harm or to another person” commits an offence under the act and shall be liable on conviction to a term of 10 years and/or a minimum fine of N25,000,000.00.”