The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Dioceses, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, on Thursday in Abuja, advised the Federal Government to sanction perpetrators of hate speech in the country.
Onaiyekan gave the advice in an interview with newsmen on the sideline of International Conference on “Love and Tolerance: Countering Violent Extremism,’’ organised by UFUK Dialogue Foundation.
Onaiyekan said that it was irresponsible for any politician or religious leader to turn Nigerians against one another in the name of canvassing for support by all means.
He admonished perpetrators of hate speech to understand that if they destroyed the nation, there would be nothing left for them to rule.
He advised politicians to embrace issue based campaign to ensure healthy rivalry in the forthcoming 2019 general elections.
Onaiyekan said it was politicians that did not have programme or clear ideas about what to do for the people that resort to hate speech because it was the easiest thing to do.
He, therefore, urged politicians to use their brain positively to come up with workable solutions to the nation’s socio-economic and political problems instead of promoting hatred among Nigerians.
The archbishop warned that any politician who had nothing to offer for progress and development of Nigeria should give way to those that could move the country forward.
“ Any politician that goes around spreading hate speech should be caution and should be sanction because it is irresponsible to turn Nigerians against one another.
“ Even if you want votes by all means at the end of the day if you destroy the nation there is nothing left to rule.
“ Politicians should put on their thinking cap to tell us what they are going to do take Nigeria out of our present problems.
“ If they cannot do that they should shut up and let others do it, “ he said.
The cleric appealed to all Nigerians to play the role of spreading good messages to counter the amount of so many bad messages going out.
“ We all know the good thing but it is only that we don’t have the energy to carry them out, “ Onaiyekan said.