The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has condemned and rejected the Hate Speech Prohibition Bill in the National Assembly, seeking stringent punishment including death by hanging as penalty.
The party gave the rejection in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said that in as much as the PDP did not condone hate speech under any guise, it regarded the bill as “unconstitutional, undemocratic and a barbarous”.
He said that the provisions of the bill were deliberately hazy and nebulous with the malicious intention to victimise innocent Nigerians.
Ologbondiyan said that the bill was targeted at official extermination of voice of dissent and perceived opposition.
He said that Nigeria already had enough constitutional provisions and extant laws to safeguard a sane and healthy public expression space, adding that such law could not find its way in Nigeria.
He recalled that the bill was rejected in the Senate in 2018, only for it to be re introduced.
“Our party holds that if allowed to pass, the hate speech prohibition bill, with its savage provisions, would destroy our democratic order, strip our constitutional provisions, the rights of citizens and usher in a full-blown despotism in Nigeria.”
Ologbondiyan advised sponsors of the bill to retrace their steps and withdraw the bill.
“The PDP also charges the National Assembly to protect our nation by
throwing away the bill.
“If anything, NASS should use its legislative instruments to strengthen our institutions and authorities vested with regulation of public expression in line with the provisions of the 1999 constitution (as amended).”
Bayelsa Assembly Committee on Environment To Curb Unlawful Sand Dredging Activities.
With various complaints and pettitions by communities impacted by the activities of illegal sand dredging and mining in the Bayelsa State, the state House of Assembly has organised a public hearing on a bill to regulate the operations of sand dredging to ensure that the environment is not adversely impacted on.
The bill tagged ” Regulation of Sand Dealing and Dredging Operations Bill 2019″ according to the House Committee on Environment is aimed at gathering inputs from experts, technocrats and the public in order to formulate a people-friendly bill that will serve the best interest of Bayelsans.
The House Committee Chairman on Environment and member representing Nembe Constituency one, Hon. Ebi Ben Ololo noted that the public hearing became necessary on the need to remediate the environment and tackle the challenges posed by sand dredging operations in the state.
” The importance of this bill cannot be overemphasized because it can save lives. You are aware a number of times so many communities and their representatives have sent pettitions to this House, specifically the Chairman House Committee on Environment as per the environmental degradation that has taken place as regards the illegal sand dealing and dredging activities in various communities all around the state”, he said.
“With those number of complains and pettitions we thought it wise to put up a bill to take care of those issues. Most important thing is that we all know that public hearing is a mechanism by which parliamentary Committees obtain information, deal with the information obtained and also exchange views with experts and the public so as to fine-tune whatever bill there is for the public hearing to come up with a top class bill that will be people- friendly and also save lives of the people in Bayelsa”, he added.
” Lots of suggestions, contributions, opinions and interactions have been made as regards this very important bill, like we have assured the representatives of the various groups that we will go back in our committee, look at those very important areas where they have suggested and also fine tune the bill. So that in no distant time we will come up with a very formidable bill that will stand the test of time. That the people will benefit from”, Ololo reassured.
He lauded participants for their insightful contributions and opinions during the public hearing, promising that the Committee would do justice to come up with a bill that would meet the expectations of Bayelsans.
In her contribution, House Chief Whip and member representing Yenagoa Constituency 2, Hon. Ebiowu Koku Obiyai lamented the deliberate connivance between communities and the sand dealers, warning that if nothing is done to regulate the activities of sand dredgers Bayelsa communities will be eroded away.
The House Whip also expressed concerns on the activities of companies carrying out dredging business near bridges and sued a delibrate efforts by all in order to save the bridges from collapse.
By Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa.
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