By Emmanuel Aziken, Political Editor & Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA – The Federal Government, yesterday, vowed to unleash the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC and security agencies against promoters of hate speech and songs now raging in some sections of the country.
The vow by the Federal Government came as the NBC vowed to apply appropriate sanctions from the broadcasting code against the broadcasters of the hate songs.
Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, also condemned the anti-Igbo songs fanned in some sections of the North.
Asked to give the Federal Government’s reactions to the anti-Igbo songs, yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “Let me make it very clear, hate speech from anywhere, from any part of the country is what we have been preaching against and I feel that there must be sanctions. I am sure that the NBC will sanction any broadcast station that broadcasts this kind of hate speeches and I am sure that the security authorities would hound anybody who is found to be engaged in hate speeches in any form.
“The government does not just care about hate speeches in the North, the government is against hate speeches anywhere; any form of music anywhere which can be described as hate speech from any part of Nigeria will be penalised, no mistake about that. No part of the country has the right to incite any part of the country against the other,” the minister asserted.
Also responding to the hate songs, the Director-General of the NBC, Dr. Modibo Kawu, vowed to sanction any broadcast station found to have transmitted the hate songs.
Kawu, who expressed disappointment with the spread of the hate songs said the Commission had deployed its monitoring team to ascertain all the broadcast stations that transmitted the songs with the intention of applying the appropriate sanctions in line with the broadcasting code.
Hate songs, bad omen for Nigeria — Kawu
He described the development as a dangerous omen that could spark of violence and lead the country into war.
“Our monitoring team is already at work to monitor all broadcast stations spreading the hate songs. This is not acceptable. As a responsible regulator, we have devoted August 24, to host a conference to enlighten all stakeholders in the broadcast industry and indeed Nigerians about the danger of hate speeches and hate songs.
“It is a serious crisis we have on our hand. We have identified Kano and Kaduna as the most hostile states in the North and have decided to engage stakeholders including the broadcasters on the danger of hate speeches to national security.
“As a result of this, we have developed a new entry code for all broadcasters because we have a serious crisis in our hands and if we fail to nip it in the bud, it may degenerate to a genocide, we will not allow that to happen.
“I was in Lagos, last week, to sensitize major stakeholders on the same issue. We are also planning to engage political parties, media, INEC, security agencies to play according to the rule in the forthcoming electioneering campaigns.
“Hate speech is endangering our national peace, it was responsible for the genocide in Rwanda and we will not allow it to happen in Nigeria. We are collaborating with all security agents to find a lasting solution to this emerging and negative trends.
“I condemn the act and I urge all those singing such songs to stop, it will not serve anybody anything good.”
Former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, while condemning the provocative songs, said Nigeria’s ethnic, religious, cultural and political diversity should be seen as an advantage and not a minus and, as such, hate speeches should be discouraged at all levels.
He lambasted the sponsors of the hate songs, adding that Nigeria has come to stay as a heterogeneous nation and no amount of hate campaign can break the country.
Kalu made these remarks, yesterday at a meeting with a group of Igbo professionals in London. He said, “the anti Igbo song being circulated is another ploy to provoke Ndigbo.
“However, despite all these nonsensical theatricals, Igbo will remain calm, peace-loving and law-abiding. We shall continue to resist all temptations as patriotic Nigerians.
“Nigeria is a diverse country made up of different ethnic groups and no single tribe can lay claim to the country. We are all stakeholders be it Yoruba, Igbo, Hausa,Tiv, Efik, Ijaw and many others.”