Abuja, Nov. 18, 2019
A Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Femi Falana says that the National Assembly (NASS) has no power to enact a law on hate speech for the entire country.
Falana said this while discussing as a panelist at Digital Voting Summit organised by RestoreNaija, an NGO, on Monday in Abuja.
He said that such law was not within the purview of the NASS but the states.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) said that while the issue of hate speech fell under residual list, the National Assembly was empowered to legislate on exclusive and concurrent lists.
“Under Section 4 of the Constitution, NASS can only legislate on matters in the exclusive and concurrent lists.
“I have looked at those lists, I have not found any where the NASS has been empowered to make the law on hate speech. It is a state affair on residual list.
“Let everybody know his or her limitations of power so that we will not make mistakes.
“If you want to prescribe death penalty, you can do so in your state. In Lagos State for instance, the execution of death penalty has been declared illegal by a court in Lagos.
“Whether you want to kill someone by hanging or firing squad, the court in Lagos has said that it is against Section 34 that has abolished any form of torture.
According to him, if any state wants to legislate on hate speech, it can do so within its jurisdiction.
Falana said that the Cybercrime Act had taken care of the entire fears regarding hate speech by making stringent conditions, including fine and prison terms for offenders.