Founder and General overseer Of the Living Faith Church, a.k.a. Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, has described the controversial Hate Speech Bill as a ‘crazy idea.’
The cleric, who claimed the aim of the bill was to silence Nigerians boasted that no one can silence a man of God because he is called by God.
Speaking at Shiloh 2019 tagged ‘Breaking limit, Oyedepo said “Hate speech is one of the most crazy idea ever.
“You say something truthful about them and they call it is hate speech? You can’t silence a man of God because he is called by God.
“A prophet is answerable to God only, what God tells him he will say. You cannot stand for God and be a loser.
“I don’t know if anyone loves Nigeria more than I do. Imagine they are not hanging killers, they want to hang ‘hate speakers?
“ Anyways that is dead already, if the wicked will not stop his wickedness God will stop his wickedness.”
Meanwhile, Political Officer of the Embassy of the United States of America, Jerry Howard, yesterday , reportedly described the Hate Speech Bill before the National Assembly as an “impressive” piece of legislation needed to address issues of discrimination, hostility and violence in Nigeria.
According to a statement released by the Media Office of Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, and signed by Oluyinka Akintunde, Howard stated this yesterday during a meeting with the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate and sponsor of the Hate Speech bill, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, at the National Assembly, Abuja.
According to the United States Embassy official, the visit was intended to engage Sabi Abdullahi and to seek an understanding of the proposed legislation under consideration by the Senate.
Following explanations by Senator Abdullahi on the bill, Mr. Howard described the response of the media as “misleading” and “hysterical,” compared to what it actually seeks to achieve.
He, therefore, advised the sponsor of the bill to engage and educate non-governmental organisations and civil society organisations in the country on its proposed contents so as to muster support for it.
Speaking on the decision of the US Embassy to engage the National Assembly on the Hate Speech bill, Howard said, “We want Nigeria to succeed and we think a prerequisite for Nigeria’s success is successful democracy.
“For democracy to succeed, the people must have a house, the people must have a place where their representatives can argue and complain, come up with new ideas and come up with solutions to guide the executive branch and lead the country forward.”
He commended the lawmaker for the level of work and research carried out on the bill.
“I’m very impressed with the research you’ve done on the bill. The media has had a field day with this, really.
“You’ve thought it through. I was depending on the media for my education, and it was very misleading. You’ve done your research and it is very interesting.
“But you have a difficult job selling this to the NGOs, CSOs. You need to talk to them. You’ll need to talk to civil society organisations, you need to educate them.
“You’ve educated me,” Howard said after Senator Abdullahi explained the contents of the bill to him.
Earlier, speaking on why he decided to introduce the bill, the lawmaker said, “Part of the reasons why violence takes place is attributable to discriminatory practices.
“It is discrimination that creates the socio-political imbalance that you see leading to a group feeling shortchanged and marginalised.
“Discrimination is also another very serious matter why I sponsored the bill. This bill basically is about preventing discrimination, and prohibiting people who incite violence,” he explained.
Abdullahi further stated that the bill’s introduction by the National Assembly has the backing of Section 45 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.
The Section states: “Nothing in Sections 37, 38, 39, 40 and 41 of this Constitution shall invalidate any law that is reasonably justifiable in a democratic society; in the interest of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health; or for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom or other persons.”
On measures in place to ensure that the bill is not abused by politicians, Senator Abdullahi explained that “an Independent Commission shall be constituted and whose membership will be restricted to persons without any history of promoting ethnic or religious causes, or anyone with political affiliations.”
He added that the passage of the Bill by the National Assembly into law will address all forms of discrimination, hostility and violence which are on the rise in the country.
Fayemi Orders Lockdown In Ekiti, Shuts Borders
Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State, yesterday announced a lockdown in the state, directing residents to stay at home from today.
The governor in a broadcast imposed a ban on all commercial activities as well as intra state travels, except for those bordering on essential services.
He said that anyone that violated the latest measures aimed at checking further spread of the coronavirus pandemic in the state, risked a six-month jail term.
The governor expressed regrets that past measures adopted by him to curtail the virus were being brazenly ignored.
He said: “It is very disappointing that some of us have either been lukewarm, nonchalant or downright defiant in observing the simple but extremely effective preventive measures as well as maintaining social distancing to protect themselves from infection and curtail the spread of the virus in their communities.
“While I acknowledge our resilient nature, incurable optimism and spiritual activism as a people, it is critical that we balance these with pragmatic and urgent actions that can ensure the safety of lives for our families and communities
“ If we do not take steps necessary to contain this virus, it has the potential to overwhelm our health infrastructure, cripple our economy and devastate Ekiti in unimaginable proportions.
“ As you are aware, the state is under significant financial constraints especially as a direct consequence of the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and the price of crude oil that has gone down considerably.
“ So, we cannot afford a public health crisis,
“ It is therefore in urgent public interest that, I hereby, in pursuant to Section 8 of the Quarantine Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) impose a curfew of movement in Ekiti .
“ The purpose of this curfew is to impose restrictions on the movement of persons and goods within Ekiti for an initial period of 14 days.
Ebeku, Toby, Okocha Hail Rivers HOS
Three prominent sons of Rivers State, including the current Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku and former Deputy Governor of the State, Sir Gabriel Toby have lauded the State Head of Service, Rufus Godwins for his book on discipline in the Nigerian Civil Service unveiled in Port Harcourt recently.
Prof. Ebeku who was the book reviewer says the 292 page work was properly written and well researched, ‘and must be regarded as an important addition to the literature of civil servants in Nigeria, saying, “in fact it stands out as the first book to be written by a Nigerian lawyer on the subject of discipline of civil servants in Nigeria.”
The commissioner said the work entitled ‘A Handbook on Discipline of Civil Servants in Nigeria’ basically elaborates the dos and don’ts in the civil service, the disciplinary procedures and associated matters, describing Godwins as a gentleman par excellence, an intellectual giant and a flamboyant lawyer, adding that the author was his classmate at the now Rivers State University (RSU) Law graduating class of 1985 and close friend, saying “He Godwins is affirmation of confidence, a man of excellence and impact.
On his part, former deputy governor of the state, Sir Gabriel Toby lauded the author for the well-researched work which he said was a compendium of the civil service rules, the constitution and judicial pronouncements.
Toby further said, “Discipline is the bedrock on which the civil service itself thrives, any community, any nation cannot stand without discipline. On the other hand of course indiscipline is a veritable drag of progress and development and it destroys vision and mission. Indiscipline is an obstruction to achievements.”, just as he recommended the book to all.
Chairman of the occasion and former President of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Onueze Okocha congratulated Rufus Godwins for his work, describing the HOS as a ‘rising star who is still rising.’
Okocha who represented former Chief Judge of the State, Justice Iche Ndu further said, “It is my belief as many have believed that it (the book) will go a long way in helping the civil servants to understand their responsibilities and ensure that they discharge those responsibilities with honesty, dedication and integrity.
While endorsing the book, he said, “The book deals with discipline of the civil servants in Nigeria, particularly the ones in Rivers State. Many people take the rules of the Civil Service for granted. But on it as I know from my days as Attorney General defines all the items, all the rules and regulations which should be observed and performed strictly to the letter by those in the civil service.
“I came close to him (Rufus Godwin) first in 1990 when I have the pleasure to serve as the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Rivers State. Those days were military regimes. And he was one of the rising stars in the ministry, I entrusted a huge, serious responsibilities to him because I had seen in him the ability to discharge his duties with seriousness, with dedication, honesty and integrity.
By: Dennis Naku
Commissioner Scores ASALGA High On COVID – 19 Prevention
The Rivers State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Barr. Osima Ginah, has scored the Government and people of Asari-Toru Local Government Area high for their level of preparedness and awareness creation on the deadly coronavirus pandemic, also known as COVID-19 in the area.
The Commissioner made the assertion while sensitising the people in Buguma at the weekend, in line with the directives of Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, to his council.
Briefing the Executive Chairman and other principal officers of the LGA, Barr. Ginah said he was officially present in the area to deliver the Governor’s message on the dreaded COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the whole world irrespective of political class, age, religion and race.
According to him, the governor was working tirelessly to curb the menace of the disease and therefore sought the understanding and cooperation of the people to win the battle.
He advised that in the interest of safety of lives, all well meaning people living and doing business in the area should ensure they obeyed simple life-saving instructions such as: avoiding crowded areas, handshakes, conducting burial ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, meetings, crowded church services/jumat services, unnecessary touching of the face, etc, describing these acts as sources of transmission of the disease.
Responding, the Chairman of Asari-Toru Local Government Area, Chief Odiari Princewill, thanked the Commissioner and his entourage for coming and expressed readiness of the local government in combating the disease.
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