Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has drawn a line on hate speech affirming that it is equivalent to terrorism and would be appropriately dealt with by the Federal Government.
Drawing inspiration from the Prevention of Terrorism Act (As Amended) 2011, Osinbajo said that such hate speeches intentionally done to intimidate the population is tantamount to terrorism. The Acting President in a series of tweets on his twitter handle on Thursday afternoon charged leaders to speak up saying that it was such silence that promoted the genocide in Nazi Germany and Rwanda.
“FG has today drawn the line on hate speech. Hate speech is a specie of terrorism. The Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended defines terrorism as an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm a country or is intended or can be reasonably be regarded as having been done to seriously intimidate a population.
“Silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement. Hate speech & the promotion of the same through history from Nazi Germany & the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential voices. The silence of leaders at this time – in our country- will be a grave disservice to our country, its peace & its future.” The Acting President called on business, religious and political leaders to condemn hate speech in strongest terms especially when such speech came from people of their faith, tribe or group. He stated that silence on such speech could only be seen as an endorsement. He noted that throughout history promotion of hate speeches succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by silencing influential voices from the aggressor communities. Osinbajo stated that when leaders in communities that spoke in such a manner to play dissension were made to be quite it constituted a great disservice to the unity of the nation.
The Acting President reaffirmed that the primary aim of the government was to secure the lives and property of citizens, adding that the administration would not relent in achieving that vision. Osinbajo also observed that to tackle insecurity there was the need to fight poverty by all tiers of government. He said that the Inspector General of Police has been directed to constitute a community policing programme to ensure inclusion of all communities in creative ways towards improving security in the country. Osinbajo decried the past friction between the Federal and State government that has led to low fulfillment of obligations to people, adding that the administration continue to exhibit transparency in dealing with the states to enable good governance.