Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has cautioned government against move to monitor Social Media Posts, noting that the rising incidences of Hate Speech in Nigeria is being caused primarily by the unfair distribution of dividends of democracy.
Instead of the current move, the Kano based Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) wants the Buhari administration to develop a more coordinated and dynamic method of tackling the root causes of Hate Speech across the country.
Yunusa Ya’u, executive director of the NGO, made this call weekend in Bauchi, while responding to questions from Sunday BusinessDay, at the end of a day workshop organized by the group to evaluate the implementation of the peace- building initiatives being executed in some schools in Northern Nigeria through the support of MacArthur Foundation.
Ya`u noted that rather than monitoring social media alone, government should aggressively embark on addressing the various outcries of perceived marginalization raised by the groups fueling Hate Speech.
The NGO also acknowledged that it was the failure of the government to fairly deal with issues, such as, fight against corruption, mounting poverty, as well as, what it described as slowness to manage communal conflicts, among other factors, that are responsibility for the worsening incidence of Hate Speech in the country.
It would be recall that the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration at a meeting with Security Chiefs orders Security Agencies to commence the monitoring of Social Media Posts of Prominent Nigerians.
The directive was one of measures adopted by the administration to tackle the propagation of hate speech, especially through social media, which CITAD and MacArthur Foundation is trying to discourage through implementation of it peace building project.
President. Buhari at the Security held in the presidential villa in Abuja, had noted that the raising trend of hate speech on social media in Nigeria, as worrisome.
“Relevant security agencies should as a matter of urgency tackle the propagation of hate speeches through the social media, particularly by some notable Nigerians,” Dan Ali, Nigeria `s Minister of Defence, noted.
In the same vein, Ya`u identified factors, such as: low understanding of the danger of Hate Speech, the growing culture of intolerance, in addition to heavy deployment of Hate Speech by religious leaders as factors driving the escalation of the trend.
Going forward, he suggested that as a matter of urgency, government should established a National Commission for Peace that would be charged with the mandate of promoting peace building among Nigerians.
He also advocate fair treatment of all Nigerians, in respect of divides, as well as, the quick implementation of proposed Bill regulating religious preaching currently begging for the attention of the National Assembly.
While, acknowledging the efforts being to review the Act establishing the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, with the view to scale up it regulatory functions, Ya`u also want the law establishing the Media Council of Nigeria, reviewed to address the Hate Speech issue.