Posted by Ben Agande, Kaduna | 2 December 2019 | 453 times
The immediate past Senator that represented Kaduna Central in 8th Assembly, Senator Shehu Sani, has warned that “blocks of tyranny” are being built in the country by people in government who are becoming increasingly intolerant of criticism and are attempting to silence Nigerians. Senator Sani, who spoke in Kaduna at the Justice Summit and Banquet, called on the 9th National Assembly to as a matter of urgency throw away the Social Media and the Hate Speech Bills.
“Nowadays, people in government are becoming intolerant to criticism and there is an attempt to silence people from questioning power. And that is dangerous.
“When people are in power, it is always good to remind themselves that power is transient. If you deny people the right to express their opinion and hold the government to account, you should understand that, by the time you are out of power that will be your only protection and guarantee.
“So, my call to the National Assembly is to throw away the Social Media Bill and the Hate Speech Bill. The two bills are inimical and dangerous to democracy. They are subversive to democracy.
“The bills are threatening and will end up consuming our democracy if people have no right to express their opinion” he said.
According to Senator Sani, the two bills are not only inimical and dangerous but subversive to democracy.
He warned the present government to tread with caution and not deny Nigerians right to freedom of expression, noting that, the government would not have been able to clinch power in 2015 if people were denied rights to express their opinion, while commending organisers of the summit which had the theme ‘Governance, Impunity and Accountability in an Era of Populism’, the senator said such fora were needed to destroy the blocks of ‘tyranny building up in Nigeria’. “This programme has provided us a platform to discuss issues of governance, democracy and rule of law and vigilance in defence of our freedom. We need platforms to continue to destroy the blocks of tyranny building up in Nigeria.
“I also call on the judiciary to be courageous and understand that, politicians will always coward them and manipulate them. Governments will come and go, but there will always be the law. And the danger of having a parliament and judiciary that cannot stand up for the constitution and the rule of law is that the nation will gradually slip into tyranny and that is a very dangerous thing to do.
“The democracy we are having today is a product of struggle and sacrifice of Nigerians. And there could not have been a change in 2015 if people were denied rights to express their opinion. “So, I call on the ruling party and the people in power not to destroy the ladder that brought them to the throne of power. When they are out of power, it is going to be the only shield to protect them against persecution from whoever is going to come after them” he said.
Earlier in her address, Convener of the Summit and Chief Executive of House of Justice, Ballanson Gloria Mabeiam said the summit was aimed at breaking Nigeria and Africa from the gag of free press and speech, because the facts and the truth need to emerge, no matter whose ox is gored.
“More than five decades ago, freedom was conceived at a seminal period in the Nigerian-African journey to independence. Civil rights movement moved for the kind of freedom that allowed people the right to self-determination and the entrenchment of fundamental freedoms.
“Fifty-nine years after, we have a profile of a democracy that wrestles with its own identity. The weaponisation of laws, the reality of insecurity, the attack on the free speech and the press and the increasingly constricted accountability forum demand that people across nations and continents galvanise to impeach impunity and entrench accountability and good governance” she said. (Vanguard)
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