• Sunday, February 25, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Update 2: Senate may approve death penalty for ‘Hate Speech’

Senate

A law to establish a National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speech has passed first reading on the floor of the Senate. The Bill is being sponsored by the the Deputy Chief Whip of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi.

The 8th Senate tried without success to pass the Bill in 2017. The same Senator Abdullahi had sponsored it.

The lawmaker, who was the spokesman of the last Senate, had proposed a death penalty for people found guilty of Hate Speech. Following a nationwide outcry that greeted the move, however, the then President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, blocked the consideration and passage of the Bill.

Although the details of the Bill is yet to be made public as at the time of filing in this report, there are claims that the death penalty proposed in the botched Bill may have been smuggled in.

The Senate on Tuesday also urged the Federal government to ban the importation of foreign textile materials in the country.

The Senate said it was disturbed that all textile manufacturing industries in the country are comatose and importation of foreign fabrics is on the rise.

Consequently, the Upper Chamber said the Federal Government should urgently revamp the Kaduna, Kano, Aba, United Nigeria textiles among other industries to promote local textile production.

The decision of the Senate followed a motion by Senator Barkiya Abdullahi Kabir (Katsina Central) on the urgent need to revamp the nation’s comatose textile industry.

Leading the debate, Kabir argued that between 1960 and 1970, the textile industry played a significant role in the manufacturing sector of the country’s economy with well over 140 functional companies.

According to him, the industries recorded an annual growth of 67 percent as at 1991 and had also created massive employment.

He further posited the discovery of oil affected the textile industry as a result of decline in cotton production which was major source of raw material.

“Government policies like increase in taxation, high cost of production, trade liberalization resulting in massive importation of textile materials has negatively affected the production of local textile materials.

“Revamping the textile industry will provide huge employment opportunities and reduce some of the social vices we have in the country today,” he stated.

Senator Kabir added that if the textile industries are resuscitated, it will boost the nation’s economy and raise the revenue bar.

Concurring on the motion, Senate Deputy Leader, Senator Ajayi Borofice opined that the “if the country’s borders remain closed, it will encourage local textile production.”

However, Senate Minority leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe argued that the closure of textile industries in Nigeria has nothing to do with closure of borders. He argued that the main challenge that brought textile decline was lack of adequate power supply which he said happened since 1982.

“I support the motion but I stand to disagree that border closure can encourage textile production, it is not border closure but the issue of power. Around 1982, textiles industries collapsed because there was lack of power supply to run production of textile industries.

“Unless power is improved and I want the federal government to do the fundamentals,  the APC national chairman, a former textile worker should encourage the federal government to revamp the industries, “ Abaribe said.

In his contribution, Senator Gabriel Suswam (Benue North East) said that the collapse of textile industries has lowered the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and that revamping the comatose industries seriously goes beyond lips service.

Suswam however suggested that “government should take concrete actions such as provision of adequate power supply and dredging of the river Benue and Niger.”

He stated that if the textile industries are resuscitated, it will create employment and reduce criminality that is rampant in the country.

Consequently, the Senate urged the Federal government to encourage local textile manufacturing companies by providing them with soft loans and easy access to credit facilities through the Bank of Industry (BOI).

 

Solomon Ayado, Abuja