Former Military President, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, has condemned the hate speech bill, sponsored by the senator representing Niger North senatorial district, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.
The former president while stating his view on the proposed bill stated that nobody can deny Nigerians their freedom of speech.
IBB while speaking at his residence during a courtesy visit by the National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Chief Christopher Isiguzo, stated that there was no basis for the bill because no one can deny Nigerians their fundamental rights.
He said: “I am surprised that this bill has resurfaced. There is no basis for this now. We are developing; we should be allowed to develop. If we make mistakes people can be cautioned. If somebody goes off you have the right to call him to say, ‘no, we don’t want this.”
“Unless people are able to express themselves, those in government or in authority will not know what is happening in the country.”
IBB who described the bill as eye service stated that the death penalty prescribed in the bill was crude and wicked.
He said: “If somebody makes hate speech, put him in the gallows and not shoot him. It is crude and out of tune with the 21st-century reality. It could have happened, maybe some 300 years ago, but not now.”
He vowed to join the NUJ and other stakeholders in protesting against the proposed bill.
“I am with you on this. I will also talk to those of us who could be in a position to bring sanity to bear on some of these things.”
“if we had their type of media, I think they should be jailing you all by now, but today, the country is better for it,” he said.