Lai Mohammed Denies Announcing ₦5 Million Hate Speech Fine

Despite video evidence to the contrary, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has denied announcing an increase in the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5m.

Mohammed, who on August 5, 2020, announced the decision of the National Broadcasting Commission to increase the fine for hate speech, declared under oath that he did not do so.

The minister said this in a counter-affidavit in response to an initial motion filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos by human rights lawyer Inibehe Effiong.

Effiong is challenging the imposition of the N5m fine on Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, and the threat of the National Broadcasting Commission to punish other broadcasting stations in the country for alleged hate speech.

In an affidavit before the Litigation Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Sunday Ojobo, the minister stated that he never announced the fine.

The affidavit further stated: “Paragraph 19 is denied. The second defendant (Mohammed) did not announce an increase in any fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5,000,000 or any other because there is a government body or institution with the mandate to regulate and enforce the Nigerian Broadcasting Code “.

The minister stated that the constitution allowed for the suspension of human rights in the national interest.

Mohammed further claimed that the NBC Act gave the commission the power to sanction stations that violate its code.

Source: – Punch ng