The End of Free Speech

We are seeing the end of freedom of speech in Nigeria. The proposed new special courts for hate crimes, terrorists and kidnappers will bring this about.

The Federal Government appears to have accepted the position that the normal judicial process is sufficiently broken that a new possess has to be set up for “priority” cases.

Instead of trying to get the system to operate effectively, the Government has decided to start a new parallel process for hate crimes, terrorists and kidnappers.

This could be extremely dangerous.

There are two concerns, both associated to justice and free speech.

Firstly, any parallel judicial system can be abused and “special circumstances” used to justify circumventing certain aspects of the law.

Our law enforcement agencies are well known for their preference for extortion rather than justice.

It has to be a concern that this system allows them to use reduced burdens of proof, suffering levels of oversight/appeal etc to step up their bullying and money extraction – rather than go after the real rogues.

Secondly, “hate crimes” are extremely difficult to codify.

In western countries this loose description of crime is being used to prosecute all manner of name calling and social media comments, in addition to normal crimes that are covered by other laws (for instance incitement to violence, battery, verbal abuse etc).

Put this into the Nigerian context where Governors send the police to arrest social media commentators who are critical and the potential is frightening.

So, Naira Insider urges you to oppose this proposal for the sake of free speech and civil liberty.

The Government should just fix the current judicial process.

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