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Hate Speech Bill: Propose Death Penalty For Corrupt Politicians — Falana Tells N’Assembly

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Human rights lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana has asked the National Assembly to make laws that will pronounce death penalty for corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons.

Mr Falana while reacting in a statement to the hate speech bill currently debated by lawmakers described it as an encroachment on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

A bill to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech, sponsored by Senator Abdullahi Sabi, was introduced on the floor of the Senate on November 12 and has generated reactions across the country.

The bill proposes that any person, who commits an offence deemed as hate speech, shall be liable to life imprisonment and where the act causes any loss of life, the person shall be punished with death by hanging.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), explained that the National Assembly has no power to exercise such power because Hate Speech is not covered in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.

“Since we are operating a federal system of government the supreme court of Nigeria had declared in a number of cases that the national assembly lacks the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence, which are by implication residual matters meant for the houses of assembly of the states. Certainly, the hate speech bill is an attempt to encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments.

“However, it is pertinent to point out that the Penal Code and Criminal Code applicable in the northern and southern states respectively have made provisions for hate speech because it is a state offence. Hence, the house of assembly of each of the state has enacted laws against incitement, false accusation, sedition and criminal defamation.”

Mr Falana decried the move, urging the sponsors of the bill to uphold the decision of Nigeria’s founding fathers who created a constitution that guarantees freedom of speech.

“The decision of the founding fathers of this present constitution which guarantees freedom of speech which must include freedom to criticize should be praised and any attempt to derogate from it except as provided in the Constitution must be resisted. Those in public office should not be intolerant of criticism. Where a writer exceeds the bounds there should be a resort to the law of libel where the plaintiff must of necessity put his character and reputation in issue.

“Finally, while the leaders of the national assembly may want to advise the legislature in each of the states of the federation to review the applicable penal statutes to review the provisions on hate speech we are compelled to urge the few bloodthirsty legislators in the national assembly to amend the anti-graft laws to provide death penalty for grand corruption perpetrated by politically exposed persons to the detriment of development in the country.”

He added that even though the bill is sponsored by a member of the House of Representatives, it has been adopted by the Buhari-Led Federal Government.

He maintained that the constitutional validity of the Bill will be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the national assembly and assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari.

Inside Nigeria

BREAKING: FG Announces Resumption Of Domestic Flights

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Hadi Sirika

The Federal Government has announced the resumption of domestic flights in the country.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, announced this in a tweet on Wednesday.

According to him, the Abuja and Lagos airports will resume domestic operations on July 8, while the Kano, Port Harcourt, Owerri and Maiduguri airports would resume on the 11th.

Other airports are also expected to resume operations on the 15th.

Sirika, however, noted that a date for the international airports will be announced in due course.

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Inside Nigeria

Number Of Poor People Might Triple Due To COVID-19 Pandemic — Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed fear of the Coronavirus pandemic making people poorer.

Speaking in a recorded video message to a virtual high-level UN meeting on trends, options and strategies in poverty eradication across the world, President Buhari apprised the UN meeting on steps to revive the nation’s economy in the wake of the pandemic and also warned that COVID-19 pandemic risks reversing decades of progress achieved in the efforts to eradicate poverty globally.

He said, “It is my conviction that devoting our efforts towards human capital development, efficient management of our resources, greater financial inclusion and transformation of the agricultural sector to ensure food security are crucial to poverty eradication.

”In this regard, Nigeria continues to strengthen its existing social safety net initiative by increasing access to enrolees who fit the various programmes in the scheme.

”Nigeria will also continue to provide easier and increased access to financial services for micro and small-scale businesses through the Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme. But we are determined to do more.

”Nigeria holds the view that education is a critical driver of sustainable development and has an immense capacity to eradicate poverty.

”Educating our children, especially the girl-child, contributes significantly to the fight against poverty, environmental sustainability, and improved health, as well as building peace and resilient societies.”

In the statement released by President Buhari’s media aide Femi Adesina on Wednesday July 1, it was also gathered that the Nigerian leader expressed concern that more than 700 million people or 10% of the world’s population are classified as living in extreme poverty.

He also noted that in Nigeria as in many other countries, the domestic supply chains and trading corridors have come under enormous strain, bringing to fore the health versus economics debate.

Buhari said, ‘‘All the while they struggle with the most basic needs like nutrition, shelter, health, education and access to clean water and sanitation.

‘‘In this condition, the number of poor people is estimated to triple as livelihoods across almost all economic sectors have been adversely affected.”

He also disclosed at the meeting that with a population of about 200 million; a large percentage of Nigerians live in various stages of poverty. According to him, the prospect of the population sliding further into extreme poverty is real and his government is also striving to combat and reverse the trend.

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Inside Nigeria

Buhari Names Adesina, Seriki, Awoniyi 39 Others As Ambassadors Nominees

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday requested the Senate to screen and confirm 41 non-career and one career ambassadors for appointment.

Buhari’s letter of request was read on the floor at plenary by the Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Among the nominees included Debo Adesina (Oyo), Exco-Minister of State for Defence, Ademola Seriki (Lagos) and Mr. Dare Sunday Awoniyi (Kogi).

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