Doyin Okupe, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has said he supports President Muhammadu Buhari’s move to promulgate a law against hate speech.
He said there was need to protect those in government against what is said about them on social media.
According to him, most of what was said about those in government in Nigeria were pathetic and required stoppage so that it will not continue to fester
Okupe stated this yesterday while speaking as a panelist at the Vanguard Conference Hall on Hate Speech.
He said: “I was the one who raised that issue, and I still say that Jonathan, as one person and as a leader of a country is perhaps, the most abused in terms of hate speech in the history of this country. Now, your question is extremely very pertinent. If somebody has gone through it and nothing happened, do we now have a justification to want to stop it? Yes, we do.
“I will support this administration with the idea that this type of thing should not be allowed to be visited. The current president is also taking a share of his own hate speech, but we must stop it somewhere. There is no need to allow this thing to fester on more than it has gone so far.
“I agree that there is a justification for the law and that we need to look into the situation properly and a proper law should be enacted that can control what we say and how we say them, especially on the social media.
“There is absolute need for sanity because what goes on in the social media is pathetic, it is unthinkable. When I see a young man of 24 years old saying that Wole Soyinka is a fool, that may not be exactly hate speech, but it is intolerable.
“Today, I am not in government but there are people in government but being in government should not expose you to all sorts of assault simply because you are Minister of Information, President or Vice President. It should not make you be a target for unreasonable assault and attack.
“You cannot protect or defend yourself, and there are no sanctions for those who do those things. Therefore, for me, I will support this administration in this idea of trying to find a law to create sanity in the social media and also to prevent reckless statements that can incite or dehumanise people for no other reason except that they are in government offices.”