The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has denied announcing an increase in the hate speech fine to N5million.
The minister, 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 the constitution allows for the suspension of human rights for the national interest.
The activist is challenging the imposition of N5million fine on Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos and the threat by the National Broadcasting Commission to punish other broadcast stations in the country for alleged hate speech.
Mohammed had on August 5 announced the increase in hate speech fine from N500, 000 to N5million.
He also announced several amendments in 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 hate speech fine.
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.”