The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has said it tracked and documented a total of 387 Hate and dangerous speech instances on Facebook and Twitter handles across the country in November.
Hamza Ibrahim, CITAD Coordinator, Countering Hate Speech Project, disclosed this at a Post-Gubernatorial Election Press briefing organised by the Centre and supported by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Thursday in Lokoja, Kogi State.
A bill seeking death sentence for anybody found guilty of hate speech is currently before the Senate. This bill was sponsored by a senator from Niger State. Aliyu Abdullahi.
Mr Ibrahim said the speech incidents were tracked by the centre’s trained monitors stationed across different parts of the country.
“Our analysis established that the speech instances occur in textual, video, pictorial and symbolic forms and 32 per cent of the offending species were ethnic-based while 26 per cent where election-related,” he said.
Mr Ibrahim noted that in the last three months, the two categories, ethnic-based and election-based, had dominated the prime position, beating religion-based hate speech which used to top the list.
He called on Nigerians to shun Hate Speech and all forms of negative remarks but value and practise tolerance no matter the provocation.
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Mr Ibrahim said hate speech had done disastrous damage to people, communities and countries around the world, adding that it prolonged hatred, destroyed mutual coexistence, promoted suspicion, tension and violence.
“We want to specifically draw the attention of the entire people of Kogi to the dangers and consequences of hate speech and therefore urge that they neither engage in or accommodate hate speech on social media platforms or at community gatherings,” he said.
The centre condemned the gruesome murder of Salome Abu and attack on Natasha Akpoti before the election, saying that the incidents further revealed the nasty experience of Nigerian women politicians in political processes.
It called on President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure that the heartless killing of Mrs Abuh was not allowed to go unpunished but ensure that her killers were brought to book.