OrderPaperToday– Former national secretary of Labour Party, Mr. Kayode Ajulo, has called on Nigerians to embrace the Hate Speech Bill as they stand to benefit from its merits.
Ajulo, who is also a human right lawyer, described the furore over the bill as unfortunate and unnecessary.
In a telephone interview with OrderPaperNG, he challenged the Buhari-led government on good governance and human rights issues in order for the beauty of the Hate Speech Bill to be seen.
“The Hate Speech Bill is a bill meant to protect citizens from ethnic related violence which may build up if reckless ethnic commentaries or opinions aired both in the social and print media are not checked either by positive legislative or executive actions. It is a pity that the lofty ideas of the legislature are not appreciated but deprecated by some persons who are bent on painting the current government in bad light.
“The current federal government may be described as a traditional African mother who is over protective of her newly born child and in this analogy, it is we the citizenry that are the newly born child. I say this because this government has taken it upon itself to guard jealously, the security and safety of the Nigerian citizens by ensuring that those who use their influence or position in the state to put in place certain events which are calculated to turn this place to the middle-Eastern part of the world are not only prevented but also dealt with. I, however, have a word of caution, in doing this premium, regard should be given to the positions of our courts; court injunctions should be obeyed immediately.
“Although, given the nature of the powers at the disposal of the executive for the protection of the citizens, it is possible for the intentions of the executive to be misinterpreted to suit the agenda of some persons within the state. This is quite evident in the interpretation of the executive handling of the cases of the likes of Sowore and Dasuki. I am happy that both men have now regained their freedom.”
Ajulo, who is also a member of Forward With Buhari (FWB), also condemned what he referred to as “executive arbitrariness” and noted that the rights of citizens can never be guaranteed under such situations.
According to him, “The Nigerian state comprises three arms of government, namely the executive, the legislature, the judiciary and even the fourth estate of the realm, the press. The duty of protection of the fundamental human right of citizens falls squarely on all the arms of government. The legislature in discharging its duties of making laws for the state must ensure that the laws passed do not only guarantee the fundamental human rights of the citizens but also ensure that they are protected.
“It also important that in the exercise of the powers of government, the executive must ensure that the rights of citizens are protected at all cost. The judiciary, on the other hand, provides the avenue for the enforcement of the fundamental human rights of citizens whenever these rights have been, are being or are likely to the breached. I must say that both the executive, legislature and the judiciary have been up and doing in the area of human rights protection. Starting from the legislature, I must say that the National Assembly has been very careful in passage of laws by ensuring that the right of all citizens is protected irrespective of the ethnic groups which they belong.”
Ajulo further tasked government to embrace good governance, which he said was central to economic growth and development, while iinsisting that government must make proper planning for 2020 to be a successful year for Nigerians.
He said, “Good governance is central to economic growth and development and the absence of the latter is symptomatic of the failure of government to deliver on the former. Economic development is attainable through the provision of the right infrastructure and engaging all the variables in the market so as to attain the desired equilibrium. The aim of economic development must be to improve the material standards of living by raising the absolute level of per capita income.”
Ajulo identified five different sectors, which he said the government needs to work on. They include development of the Nigerian workforce through investment in education sector, job creation, tourism, infrastructure and local businesses.
“If all these could be touched by the government in the new year, the Nigerian economy will transform in no time,” he added.
On the closure of the Nigerian borders, he stated that it is “a necessity to prevent the impeding doom which the dumping of foreign goods portends for this nation.
“Many have criticised the act as insensitive and untimely. Well, I must say that the bold steps taken by this administration ought to have been taken several years back. I must admit that it is not easy for us as a nation to adjust our consumption pattern to suit locally produced goods overnight but with time, we will learn to appreciate this sacrifice,” Ajulo said.