FG takes campaign against hate speech to social media

FG takes campaign against hate speech to social media
August 12 15:21 2017

The National Orientation Agency has launched a social media campaign to confront hate speech and intolerance among Nigerians.

The campaign on social media platform is tagged: #Say No To Hate Speech.

NOA Director-General, Dr. Garba Abari, condemned the rising spate of hate speeches in a press conference in Abuja, saying something must be done to stop it.

Abari urged journalists, media organisations and digital citizens to join in the effort to increase the visibility of the campaign on social media, making it go viral.

“Please, do not share posts, retweet or spread any message containing any form of hate speech against any individual, group, ethnic nationality or region.

“There is an urgent need for all men and women of goodwill in Nigeria to take measures to curb hate speeches and promote national cohesion, love and unity.

“We especially urge Nigerian celebrities to exhibit patriotism by volunteering to become national peace ambassadors at this crucial moment in our nationhood in order to effectively influence and stir the youths away from anti-peace tendencies.

“In the last few months, our country and its people have witnessed a disturbing trend in the social and political conversation that sometimes call to question our tradition of friendship, love for neighbour and sense of unity.

“This trend appears to give the impression that we have not learnt anything from our past and well thought out programmes of integration and unification have not yielded fruits, he said.

He appealed to Nigerians not to allow misunderstanding and lack of appreciation to blur the beautiful diversity for which the world admired the country.

According to him, the agency is against the level of division and hate that is being expressed in the conventional and social media and also on the streets.

Abari said, “If you look at the social media, a channel mostly used by our youths, you will notice that the voices of hate are what you hear.

“The government is concerned about this because that is not who we are.

“Our country is known for its beautiful stories of love, unity and respect for each other. For more hundreds of years, the various communities in our country have had relationships that were consolidated at Independence.

“You will recall that the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, devoted most of the last two months in consultations with leaders of thought from every region and group to re-emphasise the imperatives of our unity.

“From those consultations, it is clear that our leaders, traditional rulers, religious groups, political organisations and parties and our women are in one voice for the unity of our dear nation.

“The latest disturbing aspect of this trend is that of hate songs. NOA is in possession of at least three songs already recorded to preach hate in our communities.

“Two out of these songs are in mass circulation in the social media, particularly on Facebook and Youtube.”

The NOA boss said the agency would soon embark on a nationwide advocacy campaign against hate and intolerance, which will focus on leaders of thought in all states of the Federation.