August 10, 2017

2015 election losers are sponsors of hate speech – APC

By Henry Umoru, Marie-Therese Nanlong & Omezia Ajayi

ABUJA —The All Progressives Congress, APC, yesterday, blamed the hate song in circulation in some parts of the North on those who lost power in the last general elections, warning that the flow of hate speech was worse than the Boko Haram carnage.

The Senate, in its reaction, expressed concern and called on those involved to draw back, warning that the consequences were very lethal.

The two bodies were joined by some leading personalities, including northern elder statesman, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, Dr. Umar Ardo, among others ,in flaying the hate song waxed against Ndigbo.

The APC on its part, described perpetrators of hate-speeches, images and songs as worse than Boko Haram and pointed accusing fingers at those the party said were still sad over the 2015 election results.

National chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, while describing the hate song circulated in some sections of the North as “dangerous and despicable,” called on security agencies to promptly apprehend those behind the recording and other similar acts, “no matter who they are.”

He said: “Every ethnic based crisis of whatever nature had started with hate speech. When people within the same country frame and define one another in the manner intended to set them up for violent attack, then they are setting themselves up for a major disaster.

“The merchants of hate don’t know or just don’t care about the consequences of the fire they are stoking in the country. But they have the experiences of other countries to learn from. Rwanda remains a classic example on our continent.

“However, even as terrible as Rwanda was, it would be nothing compared to what could happen if a huge country like Nigeria is allowed to fall into the disaster of hate-driven conflict. This is why we must all rise, regardless of our political differences, and condemn these ugly and shameful acts with one voice.”

Odigie-Oyegun observed that even though ethnic distrust is not new in the country, the rising wave of hate speech, negative religious and ethnic utterance and actions as is currently being experienced, are part of the fallouts of the 2015 presidential election.

Odigie-Oyegun called on the Acting President to direct the security agencies to ensure that those behind these odious acts are promptly arrested and swiftly brought to justice.

Senate flays anti-Igbo song

Responding on behalf of the Senate, Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, said: “I have not heard the song, but for me, anybody who is coming up with the hate speech or song is an enemy of Nigeria. I condemn such songs in strong terms, whatever the motivation behind it.

“Nigeria does not need that now, all we need now as a country is to put all our efforts collectively in making Nigeria better for all of us. For me, there are more things that bind us together than those things that separate us.

“Those people who are shouting those things and toxic information are not privy to the pains and anguish of war torn-societies. Even a cursory look at Syria and Sudan is enough to stop someone in his tracks of anything that will bring strife and conflict.

….Kwande, others too

Elder-statesman, Ambassador Yahaya Kwande, on his part while frowning on the hate speeches, said: “These are just people who want to provoke people. I am not happy about this development.

“I thought there is a ban on hate speech and if you have a ban in place, singing against somebody is also hate speech. I would advise youths in the North to be patient. They should work together with their counterparts not only in Igboland but the entire country to talk peace, it is better than somebody singing a song abusing another person. If it goes on like this, this country will not be peaceful.”

Also, a former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Chief Jethro Akun, said: “I don’t think these people are acting on an informed position because anybody who knows the effects of all these upheavals would not want to call for a situation of an uprising.

“In the first place, there is nobody that exists as an island and these people who are talking and the people who are advising them, you would discover that they are doing businesses with people all over the country.

“If there are boundaries, why do they travel to other parts of the country and the world? I don’t think they are speaking the mind of anybody from any side.”

Also speaking, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Adamawa State governorship aspirant, Dr. Umar Ardo, said: “It is an unfortunate and most condemnable reciprocal act of irresponsible northerners to an equally unfortunate and most condemnable acts and speeches of some Igbo, particularly the IPOB leadership.”