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Legal Meaning of Hate Speech By Okoi Obono-Obla

Barr Okoi Obono-Obla SSA on Prosecution to the President
Recently the Federal Government in reaction to the escalation in the spate of hate speech in the cyberspace warned  it might be compelled to treat it a specie of terrorism ! Some Nigerians in response to the move by the federal government have said they did not have the foggiest idea of what constitute a hate speech !

Arising from this , Senator Sani Shehu has called for what he calls the instruction of a legislative template of what constitute a hate speech.

Section 26 of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition, Prevention etc) Act , 2015 has makes the distribution of racist or xenophobic materials  which justifies crime or genocide through a computer system or network an offense punishable with an imprisonment term of three years or payment of a fine of N10,000,000.00 or both.

Section 26 (2) of the Cybercrime ( Prohibition,Prevention) Act, 2015 went further to define the terms " racist, xenophobic materials and crime against humanity thus: (2) For the purpose of subsection (1) of this section, the term “Crime against humanity” includes any of the following acts committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: murders, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, persecution against an identifiable group on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious or gender grounds, enforced disappearance of persons, the crime of apartheid, other inhumane acts of similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious bodily or mental injury.

“Genocide” means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group as such: killing members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

“Racist or xenophobic material” means any written or printed material, any image or any other representation of ideas or theories, which advocates, promotes or incites hatred, discrimination or violence, against any individual group of individuals, based on race, color, descent or national or ethnic origin, as well as religion if used as a pretext for any of these factors".

So if you make a post or a comment or share a post or comment on the social media such as Facebook or twitter or WhatsApp or through any computer system or network which may led to incubation of hatred of a particular ethnic group or religious group or incitement or instigation of mass killings or genocide or perpetration of a crime against humanity against any ethnic group or religious group or race , you may be guilty of  infringement of Sections 24 and 26 of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention ) Act (Supra) .
President Muhammadu Buhari 3357025172841907472

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