What Reps really want with bill against hate speech —Prof Soyinka
Celebrated Noble Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka has described the proposed death sentence as punishment for hate speech in Nigeria currently undergoing deliberations at the National Assembly as an instrument to silence fierce criticism and opposition in the county.
Professor Soyinka stated this during the Ripples Nigeria Dialogue organized by the Ripples Centre for Data and Investigative Journalism in collaboration with Ripples Nigeria in Lagos with the theme “Rebuilding Trust in a Divided Nigeria.”
Soyinka state’s, that “The bill is to silence criticism and buy immunity so that their acts will not be exposed.
This is coming at a time the world is trying to end the capital punishment.,” he said.
He said it was ironical for him to condemn the hate speech bill as he has received a litany of hate speeches and disparaging languages by Nigerians when he said he was not going to be in a community ruled by Donald Trump.
“I received hate speeches and languages when I said I was not going to be part of the United States Community. I was cursed and received hate speeches and now you want me to condemned the hate speech. I don’t want anybody to be hanged but I want them to be shamed. That is why I said I just want us to look in the mirror. I just want people to stop hate speeches,” he said.
Delivering his speech as guest lecturer on the topic “From Miyetti to Haiti: Notes from a solidarity visit”, Prof Soyinka in comparison, narrated events from his most recent visit to the Caribbean.
He condemned what he described as the “poor and insensitive” language and commentary of the Minister of Defense, Mansur Ali on the killings of armless villagers by the marauding Fulani herdsmen.
“What did you expect them to do after their grazing routes had been blocked?” he quoted the minister as saying at that time. “This is addressing people whose livelihoods and lives have been taken by the herdsmen. Of massacre and of those whose farmlands and properties have been destroyed by the herdsmen from Benue, Nassarawa, Taraba and Plateau states. Land grabbers are trying to take over people’s lands that does not belong to them. Farmers are complaining daily of cattle’s overtaking their lands,” he said.
He further admitted that Nigeria not only has a leadership problem, but that of followership.
“Building trust requires frankness. We have to be very frank. Our problem is that we don’t look often in the mirror”, Soyinka stated