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Nigerians Will Determine The Fate Of The Hate Speech Bill – Ahmed Lawan

Ahmed LawanSenate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan has said Nigerians will determine the fate of the controversial hate speech bill.

He revealed this at a media parley in Abuja on the achievements of the 9th Senate in the past six months.

According to him, Nigerians would have a specific date during the public hearing on the bill to reveal if they want the bill passed or not.

He added that the 9th Senate and National Assembly should only be judged by its actions and inactions.

His words, “It is not up to members of the National Assembly alone to deal with the hate speech bill.”

“Let me take this opportunity to appeal, judge us by what we do. Judge us by our actions. We have undertaken so many actions so far, and the press has been in this journey with us. Please judge us by what we do and what we don’t.

“There is no way we can, for example, pass into law something that will be inimical to the people of Nigeria. No we can’t.

“But we will do everything possible to ensure that we legislate on what will make life better for Nigerians and we have shown the sign so far.

“We have tried in the Senate to remain united, focused and deliver on what is good for Nigeria. So far, I think we have not done anything to show that even if a request is against Nigerians, it will be passed.

“But I don’t want to even imagine a situation where the National Assembly will be mean at Nigerians because we are a microcosm of Nigeria.

“So that settles the issue of rubber stamp. Because when we do rubber stamp, you can say this is rubber stamp. But if we do what is right, please encourage us because it helps.”

“I answered something at the beginning about hate speech. Hate speech (bill) is one issue that has elicited so much reaction from Nigerians.

“Personally, am happy that everybody is talking. It is not up to members of the National Assembly alone to deal with the hate speech bill.

“So that settles the issue of rubber stamp. Because when we do rubber stamp, you can say this is rubber stamp. But if we do what is right, please encourage us because it helps.”

On PIB, “The Petroleum Industry Bill was first introduced in the National Assembly in 2007 but is yet to be passed in its entirety.

“The National Assembly will this time around adopt a different approach to make the passage of the PIB a reality.

“We want to see a situation where the Legislature and the Executive work very closely to have a PIB that will attract investment into the oil and gas sector in Nigeria.

“We want to create an investment climate that will be competitive. We know some other countries have this product; therefore we have to be competitive. We have to create an environment where the businesses make profit.

“This is a journey that involves everyone. We want both government – and that includes the legislature and executive – on the one hand and other relevant stakeholders in the sector, particularly the IOCs (International Oil Companies) to work together to ensure that this environment we are trying to create is an environment that will work for all of us.”

On the ERB, The Electoral Reforms Amendment Bill is a priority because of the urgent need to improve our electoral processes and secure the democratic gains that we have made in the Fourth Republic.

“We want to pass the Bill well ahead of the next electoral cycle in 2023 and avoid the political heat and pitfalls that imperiled the efforts of the eight National Assembly which passed the same bill close to the last general elections.

“We are not oblivious of the interest and concerns some of these bills have generated from the public. But, we must not forget that lawmaking is a rigorous process that allows for all sides of the argument to be heard and the true will of the people established before a bill becomes law.”

“This Senate and indeed the ninth National Assembly will not pass any bill that is not in the national interest. Ours is and will remain a Senate that will always work for Nigerians.”

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