December 5, 2017

Centre condemns use of media for hate, inciteful speeches

An NGO, Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) has condemned the use of the media to incite hate and hurtful speeches by politicians.

Mr Abdullahi Omaki, Executive Director of the centre made the statement in Jos during a public hearing on the campaign against hate and inciteful speeches.

Omaki said the programme was carried out under the Macarthur Foundation Funded Democracy Stability and Media Accountability Project.

He said that the overbearing use of the social media had made Nigeria’s political space clumsier as the regulatory bodies were ineffective at managing the political space.

Oaki said that due to increase of hate speeches, the centre came up with a programme that seeks to engage the media to raise awareness and also draw attention to the consequences of hate and inciteful conducts.

“The media is mirror of the community and for a country to achieve any meaningful development, political stability is required thus the collaboration of all especially the political class and more importantly the media practitioners.

“Regrettably, well after the elections of 2015, Nigeria’s political space remains flooded with increasing levels of hate, inciteful and hurtful conducts,’’ he said. Omaki advised that the country should not allowed the Rwanda’s experience to occur in Nigeria adding that the public hearing would help educate Nigerians on the dangers of hate and inciteful speeches.

He called on media practitioners to always maintain the professional ethics and ensure that hate speakers are not promoted in their organizations.

“The road to the 2019 elections should not be allowed to be commencement steps for the destruction of the country, rather they should be the re-birth of a new united and cohesive Nigeria,’’ he said.

Omaki also called on government to sensitise politicians on the dangers associated with hate speeches.

He said the call was necessary in order to promote peaceful coexistence in the country as the politicians prepare for the upcoming general elections in 2019.

According to him, the regulatory bodies in the country do not have enough mechanism to deal with issues of hate speeches.

He advised the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to use the media platform to educate Nigerians on how to avoid hate speeches.

Mr Bulus Dabit, Plateau State Director of NOA said that the issue of hate speeches had been a concern to the agency. Dabit said the agency had embarked on campaign of “building a people of peace in Nigeria’’.

He attributed the increase of hate speeches in the media to weakness in the law that regulates the organizations.

“The government needs to strengthen the regulatory bodies because they are very weak,’’ Dabit said.

He called on law makers to ensure that proper laws are been put in place to sanction those involved in hate speeches.

According to him, the aspect of the law that has not reflected on the issues of hate speeches should be strengthened.

Mr Usman Mohammed from Kogi State, a participant said the programme was timely because it would help to educate the youths in the country on what constitutes hate speech.

“We need to start educating Nigerians on the impact of hate speeches on the country economy and development,’’ Mohammed said.