By Akpeji Charles
The need for stakeholders in Nigeria to work together to combat the generation and spread of hate and dangerous speech in the country, have become a source of concern to the leadership of Centre for Information Technology and Development
The leadership of the organization who recently engaged different ethnic groups, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), students and youths on a public sensitization on Hate and Dangerously Speech in Jalingo, the state capital of Taraba, observed that ” the convergence of ethnicity-based and religious hate speech is an explosive mix for the country.”
In his presentation, the Senior Progaammes Officer- Peace and Conflict Management of the International organization, Isah Garba, noticed that religious and ethnicity constitute ” more then 80% of the hate and dangerous speech in Nigeria.”
Citing the 1994 Rwanda genocide which according to him was necessitated by dangerous speech, he noticed that that there is ” increasing circulation of fake materials such as pictures, news etc which are meant to create confusion.”
Pointing out that ” much of the hate speech arises from perceptions associated with the action or inaction of government” the organization further observed that there is ” increasing circulation off fake materials such as pictures, news etc which are meant to create confusion.”
Garba who further expressed dismay at the way and manner people indulge in the acts of exploring all available avenues using social media to create confusion in the country, beckoned at such persons to seek for an alternative ways that would promote peace in the country.
According to the organization “the Facebook in particular appears to be a place for the cooking and spread of fake and false news with pictures taken years back or in other countries circulating as authentication of the manufactured tales.”
He beckoned at the government to always endeavour to step efforts in promoting ” inclusive dialogue with a view to arriving at national consensus on national issues” adding that government should promote ” transparency and openness in the conduct of government and its officials so that citizens are carried along.”
Also contributing, the Research and Communication Assistant of CITAD, Hamza Ibrahim Chinade, want media practitioners to ” join the campaign against hate speech by providing space to counter hate and dangerous speech” adding that journalists should refrain from “providing space for the promotion of hate and dangerous speech by others.”
He also enjoined all media regulatory agencies and organizations especially the NBC, press council, Guild of editors, NUJ among others to proactively monitor the media and ensure that ” those found spreading hate and dangerous speech are appropriately sanctioned.”
Participants at the event vowed to tread legitimate paths to put and end to speeches that often ignite upheavals especially in the forthcoming general polls slated for 2019.