Proposed death penalty for hate speech is extreme —Faleke

A member of the House of Representatives, Rep James Faleke (APC-Lagos), has disagreed with the death sentence for hate speech as proposed by a bill currently before the Senate.

In an interview with journalists on Wednesday in Abuja, Faleke said though there was need to curb hate speech, the death penalty was, however, taking it to the extreme.

The lawmaker, who represents Ikoyi Federal Constituency of Lagos State, however, threw his weight behind the death penalty for terrorism and kidnapping.

“It is the area of punishment that we should be concerned about.

“I think we need to have a law on hate speech because it can cause war, crisis and disharmony in the country.

“Your right to free speech must be within the ambit of the law to bring harmony and good relationship among the people.

“But I will not support a death penalty for hate speech.

“For kidnapping and terrorism, I support death sentence as passed by some state assemblies,” he said.

The Hate Speech Bill, which passed first reading last week at the Senate, was sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi.

Abdullahi said it was the judge that should determine the punishment for offenders if the bill is passed into law.

He said as far as the issue of death-by-hanging was concerned, as spelled out in Section 33 of the Constitution, it must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Acting Spokesperson for the Senate, Senator Godiya Akwashiki, had said that when the bill gets to second reading, senators would be given the opportunity to speak on the matter.

Akwashiki said the upper chamber of the National Assembly would scrutinise the bill to remove whatever they perceive as offensive and insert what would protect the interest of Nigerians.