Sokoto state governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, has urged the media to remain vigilant and mobilise Nigerians to defend the nation’s democracy, saying the country cannot operate a democracy like a military dictatorship.
Tambuwal, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, tasked the media and other stakeholders to resist the controversial hate speech bill currently in the Nigerian Senate.
The governor made the comment on Thursday, November 28 during the opening ceremony of the Nigerian Guild of Editors’ conference in Sokoto.
He rallied the media to defend free speech by mobilising public opinion against the bill.
His words: “The media must remain vigilant. You have a responsibility to educate and mobilise Nigerians to defend this democracy. We cannot operate a democracy like a military dictatorship. The storms are gathering. We must join hands to checkmate anti-democratic elements and return our country to the path of constitutionalism, progress and development.
“The laws are now being obeyed in the breach; freedom of speech, expression and association are under severe threat. Anti-democratic elements are being emboldened by the day.
“The latest move that has shocked Nigerians is the hate speech bill that prescribes death penalty for offenders. This is quite scary and has indeed set people thinking on the true intention of the proponents of the bill.”
According to him, there are enough provisions in the country’s laws to deal with people whose actions can undermine national unity and cohesion, saying such proposed “draconian legislation” has no place in a constitutional democracy.