Oye­gun asks Os­in­bajo to ar­rest hate speech per­pe­tra­tors

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - By Muideen Olaniyi

The Na­tional Chair­man of All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oye­gun, has called on the Act­ing Pres­i­dent, Pro­fes­sor Yemi Os­in­bajo, to di­rect se­cu­rity agen­cies to ar­rest per­pe­tra­tors of hate speeches, im­ages and songs.

He also said those ar­rested must be swiftly brought to jus­tice.

Oye­gun made the call yes­ter­day, in his re­ac­tion to an au­dio record­ing cur­rently be­ing cir­cu­lated, es­pe­cially in the north­ern part of the coun­try, which he de­scribed as “dan­ger­ous and de­spi­ca­ble”.

“We can­not sit idle and watch a few dis­grun­tled in­di­vid­u­als de­stroy our democ­racy, and God for­bid, the na­tion that we all fought hard to achieve and build,” he said.

The APC na­tional chair­man, who said that the per­pe­tra­tors of hate-speeches, im­ages and songs were worse than Boko Haram, called on se­cu­rity agen­cies to promptly ap­pre­hend those be­hind the record­ing and other sim­i­lar acts “no mat­ter who they are.”

“The mer­chants of hate don’t know or just don’t care about the con­se­quences of the fire they are stok­ing in the coun­try. But they have the ex­pe­ri­ences of other coun­tries to learn from. Rwanda re­mains a clas­sic ex­am­ple on our con­ti­nent. How­ever, even as ter­ri­ble as Rwanda was, it would be noth­ing com­pared to what could hap­pen if a huge coun­try like Nigeria is al­lowed to fall into the dis­as­ter of hate-driven con­flict.

“This is why we must all rise, re­gard­less of our po­lit­i­cal dif­fer­ences and con­demn th­ese ugly and shame­ful acts with one voice,” he said.

Odigie-Oye­gun, who noted that eth­nic dis­trust was not new in Nigeria, at­trib­uted the ris­ing wave of hate speech, neg­a­tive re­li­gious and eth­nic ut­ter­ances and ac­tions cur­rently be­ing ex­pe­ri­enced to part of the fall­out of the 2015 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

“Any­one par­tic­i­pat­ing in an elec­tion knows that there could only be two out­comes - you win or you lose. When you lose, you pre­pare for the next elec­tion. What we have seen, how­ever, is that since 2015, some politi­cians and po­lit­i­cal groups have car­ried on as if they wish the coun­try it­self col­lapses just be­cause they are no longer in power. This is tragic in­deed,” he said.

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