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Proponents Of Hate Speech Bill Will Be Killed First - Elder Statesman

Elder Statesman, lawyer, and Second Republic Politician, Chief Guy Ikokwu, 83, in this interview shares his thoughts on the state of the nation and the way forward. He warned that the level of hunger in Nigeria is scary, the country already in state of anarchy and urgent measures must be taken to pull the country from the precipice.

As a lawyer with over 50 years at the bar, what is your take on the hate speech bill being considered by the Senate? 

It is not the first time it is being introduced. It was introduced in the 8th Assembly it was shot down and has now been brought back in the 9th Assembly. It is a bill that is dead on arrival because these are abnormalities. Even the people who are promoting it should be the first to be killed or hanged. You have to define what is hate speech, describe when it was made, who takes the decision and who kills and so on.

Those who are promoting hate speech bill have been guilty of hate speech in the last 10 years. They should be killed first. There are things you tell a child and the child will look at you and say how can you be telling me this when you are guilty of it, you are not a good teacher.

The bill is very retrogressive and the rest of the world is laughing at us, that is why Nigeria is almost a failed state.

His take on the closure of land borders by the Federal Government 

The land borders of Nigeria have not been totally closed, only a section has been closed, you can say from Badagry up to the East have been closed which are adjacent to other West Africa countries but from there you go up to Niger the borders are very open. Trailers, vehicles bring in rice, and some of these vehicles are controlled by some para-military and police vehicles.

We have seen the videos. Some of those videos are true. When you look at it, it’s an albatross and therefore causes more friction between Nigeria and neighbouring countries. Why do we sign the agreement on African free trade and all that, when we cannot even implement the terms? If there is problem between Nigerian officials and those of neighbouring countries, we should have made efforts first to resolve it in a civilized manner and then implement it in accordance with the treaties that have been documented and signed.

If people on the other side are cheating us, we print it out and show them that they are actually cheating us, they cannot deny it. A situation where you close borders, Yoruba in the East cannot communicate with Yoruba in the West because of this artificial boundary created by the colonialists, is wrong.

They cannot visit their kindred, they cannot even purchase food, agricultural produce and so on. At the president’s home town, Daura, the border is open. You see petroleum tankers moving in and out. Is that smuggling? It’s not, it’s free entry. You go through the border and nobody asks you who are you? Where are your documents? This is one of the things making Nigeria a failed nation and a failed state.

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