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Gov. Okowa rejects death penalty clause in Hate Speech Bill

By Regina Onyegbula

Governor of Delta, Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa, on Sunday, kicked against the proposed death penalty in the Hate Speech Bill before the National Assembly.

Okowa, who repudiated the clause during the 2019 General Harvest at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Anglican Communion, Abuja, stressed that the whole world was moving away from capital punishment as a penalty for an offence.

He noted that it would not be right for the country to resort to death penalty at this time and age.

“I condemn hate speech in totality but we shouldn’t be moving in that direction; it is not the right part, more so, when people could misjudge the intentions of whosoever is making a speech.

“We may not know who will be the determinant at the end of the day and what will constitute the entirety of the hate speech.

“So, you may just find innocent souls dying for nothing and this are souls created by God and not by man,” he said.

Okowa also pointed out that there was great hope in the future if, only, we could sincerely go back to God as individuals and as a nation.

Preaching, the governor charged Nigerians to trust God completely and rely in his strength.

Okowa, who urged Nigerians not to be scared, said that one with God was with majority.

“We must take fear away from our lives, we must also submit totally to God and whatever the situation is, God will resolve it and answer our prayers.

”There are lessons to be learnt for this period that God has taken us through.

“If we can recall those lessons and go back to God, God will definitely bless Nigeria again,” he said.

The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh, the Anglican Primate of Nigeria, who also condemned the death penalty clause in the bill, warned that the proponents of the bill could also be a victim of the offence.

According to him, nobody stays in power forever; the fact that you are in power today, doesn’t mean you will stay in power forever.

“We should not make laws to spite the people. Law is a social science that should organise the society and not to destroy the society,” he said.

Retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, Mr Chris Ezike, also urged Nigerians to put the interest of the country first before personal interests.

Ezike said: “Nigeria was not created this way. We must do the right things hoping that tomorrow will be better.

“The duty of putting this country on the right trajectory is the duty of all of us; government, parents, faith-based organisations etc; we all have roles to play."