The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has on Thursday, denied announcing an increase in the fine for hate speech in the country, from N500,000 to N5 million,
Lai Mohammed, who stated this in a counter-affidavit filed in response to an originating motion filed by a Human Rights Lawyer, Inibehe Effiong, at the Federal High Court, Lagos, said that the 1999 Constitution, as amended, allows for the suspension of human rights for national interest.
Inibehe Effiong is challenging the imposition of N5 million fine on Nigeria Info 99.3FM, in Lagos, and the threat by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, to punish other broadcast stations in the country, for alleged hate speech.
The Minister of Information, had on August 5, announced the increase in the fine for hate speech under President Muhammadu Buhari’s watch.
He also announced several amendments to the country’s Broadcasting Codes.
In an affidavit deposed to by the Litigation Secretary in the Ministry, Sunday Ojobo, the Minister denied announcing the increase in the fine for hate speech.
The affidavit read: “The 2nd Defendant (Mohammed) did not announce an increment in any fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5,000,000, or any other, because there is a governmental body or institution mandated to regulate and enforce the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
“The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, provides for derogation from fundamental rights, in the interest of public safety, public order, and for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.”
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