Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi reported a US Embassy Political Officer by the name of Jerry Howard to have said that the hateful, ignorant, needlessly duplicative “hate speech” bill he is sponsoring in the Senate is “impressive.”
I doubt that Mr. Howard ever said that. But if he did, he would be guilty of what former President George W Bush once called “the soft bigotry of low expectations”: a form of benign prejudice that sets a low bar for people thought to be inferior.
I teach media law here in America and can tell you that America has no hate speech laws. The US Supreme Court has consistently struck down all hate speech laws as unconstitutional. The cure for hate speech in America is more free speech or, as Justice Louis Brandeis put it, “more speech, not enforced silence.” Why should what is good for America be bad for Nigeria?
In any case, the bill Senator Abdullahi is sponsoring isn’t even hate speech in the proper sense of the term; it’s a mix of defamation ( which is already covered in Nigeria’s extant laws) and a sly protection of corrupt government officials from critical citizen commentary.