Hate speech fine was increased to N5m to stop people from destabilizing Nigeria- FG

The Federal Government has explained the reason for the increase in the fine for hate speech, stating that it was to stop people from willingly violating the provision to destabilise the country.

Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture gave the explanation on Friday when he featured on a TVC live Programme, “This Morning”,News Agency of Nigeria reports.

The Minister stated that the hate speech provision was being violated at will when the fine was pegged at N500,000 because it was affordable.

“What motivated the amendment was that when the fine was N500,000 we saw the provision being violated at will because the amount was very easy to pay,” Mohammed said.

He explained that some people who were desperate usually go ahead in broadcasting hate speech contents despite knowing it violates the law because they could afford the money.

It would be recalled that the minister in 2019 announced the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the increase of the fine which was later stipulated in the amended Broadcasting Code.

The Minister noted that those attacking the government over the increase must remember that hate speech had destroyed many countries.

He stated that Rwanda lost 800,000 lives to hate speech while Bosnia and Cambodia equally lost thousands of lives to the menace.

Mohammed further said that Nigeria is not the only country to impose sanction on hate speech, adding that some nations have more stringent provisions.

“Chad has today slowed down the speed of its internet service to slow down the growth of hate speech.

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“Iceland has a provision in its penal code against hate speech and the punishment is up to five years in jail.

“The sanction in Norway is up to two years imprisonment while South Africa separated hate speech from the protection their citizens can get from the constitution,” he said.

The Minister, however, said that the speech is not new but the social media and its wildfire capacity to spread information made it to be more problematic.

He, therefore, reiterated the resolve of the government to regulate social media without stifling the freedom of speech

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