Hate Speech Bill Disastrous – Bishop Ezeokafor
By Nedum Noble
The Catholic bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, has called on the National Assembly to have a rethink over the proposed Hate Speech Bill presently rocking the nation.
He said the bill would be disastrous if not properly managed.
The archbishop was speaking when he played host to members of Civil Society Labour- Media Alliance, Anambra State, led by the program Manager Community Empowerment Network, Anambra state, Elder Eloka Okafor and the State Chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Jerry Nnubia at St. Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka.
He expressed reservations over the idea mooted by a section of the Senate to have anyone who violated the hate speech law to be sentenced to death by hanging.
Bishop Ezeokafor, who also threw his weight behind the call for Local Government autonomy, argued that the bill when passed, would bring about positive development, especially in the rural areas.
On the assault on the Archbishop of Owerri, His Grace Most Rev. Anthony Obinna, by thugs believed to be loyal to Imo State Government, Ezeokafor warned those behind the act to refrain from such or attract God’s wrath.
Archbishop Obinna reportedly escaped a mob action at the altar during a commendation Mass at St. Michael’s Catholic Church organized in honour of the late Mrs. Juliana Mbata of Mgwoma Obube Community in Owerri North Local Government Area of Imo State.
The archbishop was said to have criticised the policies of the Imo State Government, including plan by Gov Rochas Okorocha to impose his son-in-law on the people of the state as his successor, an action that did not go down well with supporters of the government.
Condemning the incident, Bishop Ezeokafor, described the act as abominable, wondering why today’s politicians no longer have regards for God.
“Judging from what I was told, a group of thugs perceived to be loyal to the Imo State Government disrupted the church Commendation Mass. I heard they called the Archbishop all manner of unprintable names.
‘See, no one has the right to interrupt a homily. You do not question the preacher. You do not reply a homily. It is like a law court there you have to keep quiet. But, here in Imo State, you see them questioning and interrupting the Archbishop. It is abominable and condemnable.
‘These politicians no longer have regard for God. How can someone come into a church and start causing commotion? I am not from Imo. I can only advice the electorate to vote for a good candidate. I really feel for Archbishop Obinna,’ Bishop Ezeokafor said.