The Lutheran Church of Christ in Nigeria has urged the national assembly to reconsider the “Hate Speech bill and Social Media Bill” in view of freedom of information and freedom of speech as provided in the constitution of Nigeria.
The Arch Bishop of the Church, who is also the President of the Lutheran World Federation, Dr. Musa Panti Filibus, made the call during the 188th Meeting of the General Church Council of the Church at the Arch Cathedral in Numan, Adamawa State, that there was the high risk that the bill, if passed into law, would be easily manipulated and misused against political opponents and poor innocent citizens.
Arch Bishop Filibus therefore urged the legislators to rather identify and address the root causes of sudden increase in dangerous speeches and utilize the provisions in the constitution for handling vulgar utterances.
The Lutheran Arch Bishop said the church was not in support of unguarded utterances, but called for caution on the part of the legislators in formulating the bill.
“As a church, we detest and utterly condemn any form of unwholesome utterance, derogatory remarks against any person or group of persons on the basis of religion, tribe, or ethnicity. However, the so-called hate speech bill, otherwise called the “Prohibition of Hate Speech Bill’ and the so-called “Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill” championed by some Senators that proposes death penalty on those found guilty of hate speech must be handled with utmost caution,” Arch Bishop Filibus said.