Human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), has declared that the National Assembly lacks the legislative competence to pass the bill for the establishment of Hate Speech Commission.
He threatened legal action to challenge the constitutionality of the bill if it were passed by the National Assembly and signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to him, with hate speech being “a residual matter”, the bill would encroach on the legislative autonomy of the state governments
In a statement on Monday, Falana said hate speech was not an item on either the exclusive or concurrent legislative lists in the Nigerian Constitution, therefore the National Assembly lacked the power to legislate on it.
He said, “The power of the National Assembly to make laws for the peace, order and good governance of the federation of any part thereof cannot be exercised at large.
“By virtue of section 4 of the Constitution, the power of the National Assembly to make laws is limited to matters in the Exclusive Legislative and Concurrent Legislative Lists.
“To the extent that hate speech is not covered by both Legislative Lists the National Assembly cannot pass any hate speech bill.”
He added, “Finally, even though the obnoxious bill is the initiative of a member of the House of Representatives, the Buhari administration has adopted it hook, line and sinker.
“The constitutional validity of the bill will certainly be challenged in the Federal High Court if it is passed by the National Assembly and assented to by President Buhari.”
Falana noted that on the grounds that Nigeria was operating a federal system of government, the Supreme Court of Nigeria had declared in several cases that the National Assembly lacked the constitutional powers to make laws outside its legislative competence.
Join the conversation
Support Ripples Nigeria, hold up solutions journalism
Balanced, fearless journalism driven by data comes at huge financial costs.
If you are motivated and passionate about building a global society, founded on justice, equity, fairness, transparency, accountability and superior knowledge, kindly consider donating to Ripples Nigeria’s solutions journalism.
Your support would help to ensure that citizens and institutions continue to have free access to credible and reliable information for societal development.
INVESTIGATION: Inside UNILAG’s multi-million naira budgetary abuse and academic discord
The University of Lagos located in Nigeria’s commercial capital, Lagos, has been embroiled in controversies with allegations bothering on misappropriation of...
SPECIAL REPORT: Displaced residents of Zamfara battle hunger, as underfunding derails Nigeria’s nutrition goals
On paper, Muhammad Zayyanu is seven years old. The quiet boy who looks shorter for his age could not recollect...
INVESTIGATION: N7.3bn paid for unnamed projects; how Nigerian govt spent N2.2trn in six months
Analysing nearly 3,000 payments made by various Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) over the previous six months (January...
INVESTIGATION… Delay rocks Nigerian govt’s promise of N30,000 covid-19 relief for artisans, others
Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in February, 2020, Chukwudi Okoroigwe’s daily earnings as a bus driver was hardly enough to cater to the...
INVESTIGATION… Ten years after, communities count losses as AfDB, Cross River govt abandon road project
Ten years after the Cross River State government and African Development Bank (AFDB) jointly awarded the Yahe-Wanokom-Wanikade-Benue border road for...