June 21, 2024

Stand up against hate speech, Nigerian youths told


By Luminous Jannamike

ABUJA – Director General of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), Dr. Joseph Ochogwu, has charged youths to stand up against hate speech and harmful narratives.

Speaking at a two-day training in Abuja on combating hate speech, Dr. Ochogwu emphasized the importance of youth empowerment and responsible technology use.

He said, “The pursuit of selfish gain, ineffective policies, low media literacy, and the weakness of our institutions in fact-checking and probing integrity of information exchanges in the nation’s ecosystem – both online and offline, are critical factors propelling the phenomena of hate speech, misinformation, and other social and print media vices in the country.

“The compelling need to change the narratives of global information ecosystem disorder informed the decision of United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, to launch a UN Strategy and Plan of Action on Hate Speech, in June 2019.

“This Strategy and Plan of Action has core objectives and, in particular, it focuses on how to support the human populace, including the Youth, to reject and stand up against hate speech, fake news, and other social media vices.

“I urge you to be focused and attentive as you engage with the learning materials and resource persons in the course of the event, even as I hope that you will deploy the skills acquired towards responsible information dissemination and the wider goal of peace, stability, and progress in our dear country.”

The Executive Director of Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, Mr. Rafiu Lawal, highlighted the devastating effects of hate speech and harmful narratives on society, urging collective action to address the menace.

Mr. Kamaldeen, Nigeria Youth Futures Fund (NYFF) Grants and MERL Specialist, stressed the need for continuous youth capacity building and opportunities to facilitate good governance and peacebuilding.

The training, themed “Together for Peace: Combating Hate Speech Online and Offline”, was organized in partnership with Building Blocks for Peace Foundation, LEAP Africa, and Nigeria Youth Futures Fund.

Over 20 young participants from the six Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory attended the training, which focused on conflict management, peacebuilding, and social media advocacy.