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Shehu Defends Mailafia’s Invitation, Says N.5m Ineffective To Tackle Hate Speech

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A file photo of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu.

Mr Garba Shehu on Wednesday defended the invitation of Dr Obadiah Mailafia by the Department of State Services (DSS) over his recent comments on the Boko Haram insurgency.

In his appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity believes the DSS took the right decision.

“This is Nigeria; this is not Mali … Is this the first time the Department of State Service is inviting people for questioning?

“When somebody claiming to be a responsible citizen makes such a claim as Obadiah Mailafia did, saying that a governor is a commander for Boko Haram and he shouldn’t be asked questions, so what kind of society do we want?” the President’s aide asked.

Channels Television had reported that the DSS had invited Mailafia, a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), at least on two occasions.

Mailafia was invited and grilled over his claims on a radio programme that the insurgents in the North East were enjoying the support of some governors.

This sparked an outcry with calls for investigations while the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) imposed a sanction of N500,000 on the station over what it called unprofessional broadcast.

In his reaction, Shehu took a swipe at those criticising the DSS for the invitation extended to the former CBN deputy governor.

According to him, people find it difficult to adhere to the laws of the country when they are compelled to be law-abiding in foreign nations.

The presidential aide said, “We are living in a country of people who will go to the UK and America and obey all the laws and in our country, when there is enforcement, they start crying… so, what is political about it?”

He also backed the increase in the fine for hate speech to N500,000, stressing that the current amount was still not enough to tackle the menace.

“As for the increase in the charge against hate speech, perhaps it’s the assessment of the minister,” Shehu said.

He added, “The N500,000 that was emplaced was not being respected, it was not effective in curtailing these things because somebody picking rumour and is going to the radio to announce that … come on, what are we dealing with?

“There has to be law enforcement in this country as it is happening with our citizens when they go outside the country.”


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