In Nigeria, our well-distinguished religious groups and wide ethnic identities have created distinctiveness easily tagged with physical attributes. The exploitation of this reality by political and other interest groups has continued to create and cultivate division among us, which sadly manifests through hate speech.
Director, Research Training, Islamic Education Trust, Nuruddeen Lemu, defined hate speech as any kind of communication in speech, writing, behaviour that attacks, uses pejorative or discriminatory language,
especially with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity.
Lemu noted that hate speech when left unaddressed, could lead to violence or hate crimes against marginalised groups, stressing that hate speech was capable of destroying a country.
Hate speech is defined by the United Nations as “any kind of communication in speech, writing, or behavior that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language concerning a person or a group based on who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, color, descent, gender, or other identity factors.”
Stella Francis, Media focal Point Nigeria Fellows Alumni, was particular about Issues around the Fulani Herdsmen & Farmers, Boko Horam, IPOB, Militants, and the recent trends in Alamjiris which have continued to fuel hate speech online and off-line both in the past in the present. She said that while our independent freedom of speech is respected, as a society, we must encourage ourselves to reflect on the exercise of our freedom of speech and how it endangers this beautiful place we call home. Hate speech does more harm than the underlining issues fueling it because it sows seeds of violence.
Hate speech has destructive impacts on our society. It promotes violence, leads to conflicts that destroy lives and properties, and promotes hate crimes against marginalized groups. Hate speech creates division in society and while hate statements may not immediately incite violence, they can promote intolerance and anger.
We must employ sustainable rhetoric when we discuss issues that bother our society. Forms of rhetoric like hate speech will further reap us apart, destroy our livelihood, security, and development.
The peace of our communities is the responsibility of everyone there for it is our collective duty to fight against hate speech.
Avoid making or spreading posts with hate statements on your social media platforms.
Disregard social media post which spread rumors and promote hate speech.Promote messages of tolerance and peace on social media platforms.And tell others about the consequences of hate speech.