The National Orientation Agency (NOA), in Abuja in order to sensitize bloggers, online publishers, social media influencers and the traditional media on the dangers of hate speeches in the country organized a roundtable seminar. Media and military personnel were present at the meeting.
Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, whiling speaking on Tuesday explained why the military cannot dabble into enforcement of Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention ETC) Act, 2015, which the executive has categorized as “hate speech” in social media.
The IGP said enforcement of the law is not within the military’s purview.
He also disclosed that offenders risk 10 years jail term and N25 million fine, on conviction.
Idris reiterated that it is the responsibility of the police to maintain law and order in a democratic society, hence, the Armed Forces should not be allowed to arrest alleged purveyors of hate speeches.
Idris, who was represented by Mr. London Joseph, reminded social media operators that an offender, on conviction risk imprisonment for 10 years and/or a minimum fine of 25m.
“For the avoidance of doubt, section 4 of the Police Act has empowered the Nigeria Police Force to arrest and prosecute criminal suspects in the country.
“However, section 47 (1) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention ETC) Act provides that law enforcement agencies shall have power to prosecute offences under this Act while section 58 thereof defines law enforcement agencies to include “any agency for the time being responsible for implementation and enforcement of the provisions of this Act.” Continuing, he added that, “as the Nigerian Army is not one of the law enforcement agencies envisaged by the Act and other penal laws, it should not be permitted to enforce any of the laws against hate speeches.”