FG Planning to Muzzle Opposition — PDP

 The national leadership of the PDP has alleged that the Federal Government was planning to muzzle the opposition with its threat to clamp down on users of social media who engaged in hate speech.

The National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Mr. Kola Ologbondiyan, in an interview with one of punch correspondents on Saturday,  said it would be wrong for the government to hide under the allegation of hate speech to arrest people with opposing views.

Ologbondiyan said, “The government must first of all define what is hate speech. It must tell Nigerians what constitutes hate speech.

“There is no way members of the opposition like the PDP and even progressives members of the APC will not condemn or criticise the government and the APC when they fail to live up to expectations.

“We will not allow them to instil fear into us as a party. We all know what and how the APC came into power with false propaganda, using the social media.

“Now that they know that they have performed poorly and elections are coming, they think they can use that threat to scare us from doing our job. That will fail.”

The PDP reacted to a statement by the  Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, who on Thursday, said he had directed security agencies to tackle those propagating hate speech especially through the social media.

He said special attention should be given to notable Nigerians while tackling the menace.

According to him,  the directive was given at a meeting of the National Security Council presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.

Other people who reacted to the directive include the house of representatives saying “the decision infringed on the fundamental human rights of Nigerians to free speech.”

It said the 1999 Constitution guaranteed the right to free speech, adding that it would be an illegality to attempt to monitor the social media contents of Nigerians.

The Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Abdulrazak Namdas, in an interview with Sunday PUNCH, advised the Federal Government to reconsider its decision.

He stated, “We are in a democracy. The constitution guarantees the right to free speech.”

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Council against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), while noting that hate speech needed to be curbed, however, described the government’s move as obnoxious and anti-democratic.

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