Connect with us

Politics

Olanipekun Urges NASS To Withdraw Hate Speech Bill

Published

on

A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), has advised the National Assembly to immediately withdraw the Hate Speech bill that has generated bad blood among Nigerians, declaring it as contradicting the principles of fundamental human rights and tantamount to pursuing a policy that is self-serving.
Olanipekun, who expressed disappointment that such a bill could emanate from the National Assembly, warned that the Hate Speech bill would create bad blood and disunity among Nigerians if passed and assented to by the president.
Olanipekun also called for more funding of education through governments, corporate bodies and philanthropists, for children of the poor to have access to education.
He made the scathing remarks against the much touted bill at the weekend in Ikere, Ekiti State, during his annual scholarship awards for over 100 indigent but brilliant Nigerian students through Wole Olanipekun Foundation.
The former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) enjoined the NASS to focus its attention on sponsoring bills that would cushion the effects of insecurity, poor education, hardship and bad roads that plague the nation and shun retrogressive bills such as the Hate Speech.
“I am happy to note that it is not an Executive bill. You know you can have an Executive bill, members’ Bill or Private bill. This Bill is being initiated from or by the NASS. I am happy because the bill didn’t originate from the presidency. I think we are mixing a lot of things up. People commenting that Buhari wants to gag the press. I do not agree with them because the bill did not come from the Presidency. But it is unfortunate that it is coming from the NASS’’.
“Let me advise the NASS to be more productive, let us stop chasing vanity, and things that are counterproductive. To me as a lawyer, as an elder, this bill will be counterproductive. The bill will bring disunity even among family members. We should not bring disunity. Wife and husband disagree, and if such happens, will you report your spouse for hate speech?.
“My little knowledge of the law will not open my eyes to the definition of hate speech. In the law of defamation, there is libel, slander and vulgar abuse. And they would tell you vulgar abuse is not actionable, we are all human beings, we all have emotions, every man has his own lull moment.
“Let us caution ourselves in this country, and my fear is that those who make the law might become victims of such a law. They should respect the sanctity of human life. Nigeria is not in a stone age. We have laws that have taken care of all offences in Nigeria. No review, no amendment will make it acceptable, but they should withdraw it outrightly. We will forgive them if they show that they erred”, he stated.

 

By: Chris Oluoh

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

Omo-Agege Initiates Electoral Act 2010 Amendment Bill

Published

on

Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege on Monday said, he had introduced a bill for comprehensive amendment of the Electoral Act No. 6 of 2010.
Omo-Agege said this at the Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room Stakeholders Forum on Elections, organised by the coalition of more than 70 civil societies in Abuja.
He said the bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Abubakar Kyari of Borno North Senatorial District, was now making its way to public hearing, having scaled Second Reading with overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate.
“It is a decisive response to a plethora of our Supreme Court’s decision inviting the National Assembly to make sensible amendments to the Electoral Act.
“And I believe it is responsible for us to take the apex court’s constructive guidance on issues that fundamentally affect our democracy.
“This apart, Section 153 of the Electoral Act, 2010, as amended, specifically and expressly empowers INEC to “issue regulations, guidelines, or manuals for the purpose of giving effects to the provisions of this Act and for its administration thereof.
“The pervasive non-compliance with the Guidelines, Regulations and Manuals, would carry clear consequences for people who think violating electoral due process is a rewarding exercise.
“The proposed Bill to amend the Electoral Act would focus on resolving issues surrounding INEC’s introduction of modern technologies into the electoral process, particularly accreditation of voters.’’
Omo-Agege said that the bill would also mandate INEC to publish the Voters’ Register for public scrutiny at every Registration Area and on its website, at least seven days before a general election.
According to him, it also mandates INEC to suspend an election in order to allow a political party that loses its candidate before or during an election to conduct a fresh primary to elect a replacement.
He said the bill would grant agents of political parties the right to inspect original electoral materials before the commencement of election, define over-voting to include situations where “total votes cast also exceed total number of accredited voters’’.
According to the lawmaker, it also provides greater clarity and transparency in the process of reaching the final announcement of election results, starting with sorting of ballots, counting of votes among others.
Omo-Agege said the bill would mandate INEC to record and keep relevant detailed information of results sheets, ballot papers and other sensitive electoral materials used in an election, with clear consequences for violation.
He said the bill also provided sanctions for giving false information on registration of a political party, and that failure by INEC and others to comply with any provision of the Act carried clear and adequate sanctions.
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who was represented by Mr Festus Okoye, Chairman Information and Voter Education, said the Commission was committed to electoral reforms that would strengthen the power and value of the vote.
Yakubu said the Commission would work assiduously with critical stakeholders in the electoral process in providing clarity, removing ambiguities, plugging existing lacuna in laws and constitutionally implementing those aspects of the law that guaranteed the credibility of elections.
“The Commission will definitely send its proposals to the National Assembly to clearly state aspects of the existing Law it supports, aspects that need further retooling, and new proposals that will strengthen the electoral process and the regulatory functions of the Commission.’’
Mr Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, said the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration was committed to tackling electoral fraud and violence through the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission.
Malami who was represented by Ms Juliet Ibekaku, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Ethics and Justice, said the government was already working with the 9th National Assembly with a view to ensuring an early passage of amendments to the Electoral Act and the Election Offences Commission Bill into law.
Earlier, Mr Clement Nwankwo, Convener, Nigeria Civil Society Situation Room, said the objective of the event was to discuss the current state of the electoral environment in the country.
Nwankwo said it also aimed to make recommendations and suggestions that would improve the political and electoral process in Nigeria.
“We believe INEC has the responsibility to be a key driver of the much needed change in the electoral sector,’’ he added.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

‘We Are Confident Jonathan Won’t  Defect To  APC’

Published

on

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last Monday said it was confident that former President Goodluck Jonathan will not dump the party for the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), no matter the amount of pressures piled on him to do so.
Speaking with newsmen  a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC), who spoke on condition of anonymity said while they were aware of the scheming by the APC to lure the former President into its fold, it was confident that Jonathan will never leave the PDP.
He said the former president took the decision to support Lyon based on “personal reasons owing to the disagreement he had with Governor Dickson and not because of his interest in joining the APC”.
“ Yes, we have heard about it too. But we are not sleeping over it at all. We know former President Jonathan as a very loyal party man and one of the pillars of our great party. We are confident he will not join the APC no matter how they try to convince him.
“ I don’t want to go into details but from what we witnessed in the Bayelsa election, the people are not happy with the candidate anointed by Governor Dickson who was the candidate of the PDP. If that is the decision of Bayelsans, then I think the former president who  is a tested democrat will align with that decision, irrespective of where the candidate the people wants comes from”.
Also speaking with our correspondent on whether the PDP has taken any action against Jonathan over his role in the party’s loss during the Bayelsa governorship election, the party’s National Publicity Secretary Kola Ologbondiyan,said he was not aware if any letter was written by the party to the former President.
Ologbondiyan, who said there is no case concerning Jonathan at the national level said as a member of the Bayelsa state chapter of the party, if the former president had committed any wrongdoing, it was the state chapter of the party that will bring the report to the national level for action.
That, according to him nothing has not been done as at Monday.
“ I will have to ask the National Secretary  if  that was done because I am not the one that will write the letter.  We are concerned about the loss of our party.
“Right now, there is no issue before us concerning the former President. The PDP is procedural. We work with procedures.  If there were issues  in a particular state, the state chapter will have to bring the issue before the national body before  any action can be taken. That is the procedure”  he said.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Politics

‘Violence Not Option For Transformation Of Nigeria’

Published

on

United States.-based Human Rights Movement, the A.D. King Foundation, yesterday, advised Nigerian youths not to lose hope in the transformation of Nigeria, saying  violence should not be an option.
The Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Prof. Babs Onabanjo, made the submission in an interview with newsmen in Lagos.
Onabanjo said that the change the youths desired could be achieved in a non-violent form, a campaign that the foundation had been pursuing.
“It is sad that Nigerian youths have been asking questions which seems there are not answers to, but the fact is that the answer is no in one person’s hand to provide.
“If there is crisis or the crisis persists, what we should do is to seek for the solution and I am sure that there is hope for Nigeria.
“Our young leaders must have hope and not resort to violence; they should know that the hope will be challenged by their sacrifice and commitment to being good and doing the right thing.
“It is essential for the leaders to have followers, therefore, they must have integrity and influence.
“They must be able to communicate and persuade people in a reasonable way without resorting to violence,” he said.
Onabanjo said that some countries in the world had achieved greatness out of their problems without resorting to violence, a virtue Nigerian youths should emulate.
“Dr Martin Luther King said “Peace is not an absence of conflict, but the presence of Justice where there is no justice, there won’t be peace.
“The change our youths so desire can be achieved without violence because violence will not bring the right result, the youths need to appeal to other consciences to get result.
“The Civil Right Movement in the U.S., did not achieve their results through violence.
Also the Berlin Walls crumbled without violence.
So also the Apartheid regime in South Africa collapsed without shooting a gun.
“We should not lose hope yet although things seem not right, we should concentrate and believe that we will get it right; also our youths should engage the leaders constructively and positively”, he said.
A.D. King Foundation Inc., is a non-violent conflict resolution entity formed to revolutionise the mindset, attitude and behaviour that engages violence and war with non-violent principles, methods and direct actions.
The mission is to promote youth empowerment, development and non-violent social change strategies as a way of life throughout the world.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Continue Reading

Trending