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Opponents of ‘hate speech bill’ are pretenders – Senator Abdullahi

Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Sabi Abdullahi has slammed those opposing the hate speech bill which he’s sponsoring before the Nigerian Senate.

According to him, many of those against the bill have tendencies to escalate violence with their actions, which is why they are in opposition of the bill.

Abdullahi also warned the public about many who are opposing the bill by acting like they have the best interest of the country at heart.

Backong his claim up, Abdullahi cited the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) report on “Overcoming Dangerous Speech and Endemic Religious Divides in Central Nigeria”

“Both Christians and Muslims have said that the media blatantly expresses bias against their religion, and that journalists will deliberately not report their story or perspective,” he said.

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“Outside the immediate communities affected by a specific incident, the general public’s understanding of violent events is often incomplete.

“In some cases, false news about attacks have incited the people to undertake revenge attacks in various parts of the country.”

Making specific reference to Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) report, Abdullahi said: “In 2017, Nigeria experienced the continuation of three major conflicts that provided a fertile ground for the propagation of hate speech.

“These were the resurgence of the Biafra Agitation in the South East, the clash between the Army and members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, popularly referred to as the Shiites Movement in the North West, and the transformation of the localized farmers-herders conflict and cattle rustling to the large scale rural banditry that had taken an ethno-religious character across much of the North West and North Central zones of the country.

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“Across the country, scores of people were killed as a result of these conflicts, further providing fuel for the wildfire of hate speech.

“More than at any time in the recent history of the country, hate speech became widely used in public discourse and communication.
“They fueled a dynamic that weakened national cohesion and made it difficult for the country to collectively address the threat to peace that affected the population in the country.”

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