The Founder of Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), has described the controversial hate-speech bill before the Senate a pathway to dictatorship. The legal icon, who chided the federal lawmakers for spending their time on such a bill, said that it was needless and unwarranted for anyone to contemplate another law to deal with false publications when there were laws already promulgated to take care of such situation.
The bill, sponsored by the Deputy Chief Whip, Aliyu Abdullahi, has passed the first reading at the Senate, prescribing death penalty for anyone found guilty of spreading a falsehood that could lead to the death of another person. Babalola said this yesterday at ABUAD in Ado-Ekiti in his reaction to the outcry generated by the bill.
The ABUAD founder noted that the provisions of the proposed bill in its entirety clearly contravene Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech.
Babalola said: “This is the beginning of dictatorship. There are enough laws like defamation, libel and slander to deal with anybody who publishes falsehood against someone and it comes by way of taking the person to court.“So, there no need of making new laws to deal with somebody who publishes falsehood. There was no need whatsoever for additional laws to deal with that.“Though people are complaining because the police are not doing well by delaying prosecution of offenders.”
In another development, Babalola said nothing good could come of the temple of justice in an environment where judges were being intimidated. “The Department of State Services (DSS) did irreparable damage to courts the very day houses of judges were ransacked at night, because no judge will give judgment against a government when he has the impression that his house will be searched at night,” he stated.He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to focus attention on the rehabilitation of the dilapidating federal roads in Ekiti State, saying that all the roads in the state are in bad shape.