Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila

Reps move against hate speech, religious killings

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The National Religious Harmony Commission (Establishment) Bill passed second reading at the plenary of the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

Sponsored by the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila and Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, the bill if passed into law will, among other responsibilities, tackle religious killings, discrimination and hate speech.

The bill listed the objectives of the proposed NRHC to include the provision of a statutory framework for protecting the fundamental human rights of Nigerians as it relates to matters of religious freedom and liberty.

The commission is to be “empowered to investigate cases of religious discrimination, victimisation and harassment in all facets of Nigeria and prosecute offenders”. At the same time, it will “monitor incidents of religious extremism, including hate speech and other actions, and utterances intended to incite violent passions and prosecute offenders.”

The proposed NRHC is to provide an early warning system for government and law enforcement to detect and prevent actions liable to incite religious violence and breakdown of law and order.

It will also research and advise the government and the National Assembly on remedial measures to prevent religious extremism and the dangers that flow from there.


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