By Khadija Aliyu

Politicians, religious and community leaders have been urged to intensify more efforts towards mitigating hate speech to ensure peaceful coexistence between people.

The Countering Hate Speech Project lead,Hamza Ibrahim stated this during a public report presentation on combating hate speech in Nigeria,organized by the center for information technology (CITAD)with support from PeacetTech lab,held in kano.

Hamza Ibrahim said the study was carried out by CITAD and PeaceTech lab to would serve as an advocacy and enlightenment resource around combating hate speech in Nigeria

According to the him,the report was generated after online survey and focus group discussions with youths,politicians,religious and community leaders,people living with disabilities among others.

He said the survey discovered that, politicians are the major purveyors of hate speech to favour their political interests.Followed by youths who use social media platforms to promote hate speech.

The countering hate speech project lead,pointed out that all survey respondents agreed that all enlightenment messages should be disseminated in local language to enhance understanding and clear perception of the messages.

“To develop and dessiminate a countering hate speech framework in local languages of Igbo,Hausa and Yoruba”

Hamza noted that politicians,religious and community leaders have a vital role to play in addressing hateful words in the society by condemning and avoiding unethical utterances during gatherings and sermons.

He said one of the outcomes of the report is the ban of using deregatory words or phrases aginst people living with disabilities,which results in demoralizing them and exposing them to ridicule or lower their chances of getting married or being employed.

Hamza Ibrahim, identified preaching peace and unity as well as sensitizing people during community meetings as some of the major catalysts that will go a long way in curtailing hate speech.

“Religious bodies such as jama’atul Nasril Islam and christian association of Nigeria,should endorse and support efforts to combat hate speech in Nigeria”

The report tagged “EXTINGUISHING HATE SPEECH:ROLES FOR POLITICIANS,RELIGIOUS AND COMMUNITY LEADERS” identified various stakeholders that can work together to achieve the desired objectives.

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