The Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at a Security Summit organized by the National Economic Council holding at the Presidential Villa, Abuja said the Federal Government has drawn the line on hate speech. He described hate speech as a specie of terrorism.
“The intimidation of a population by words, by speech is an act of terrorism and this government intends to take this matter very seriously. As I have said, we have drawn a line against hate speech. It will not be tolerated, it will be taken as an act of terrorism and all of the consequences will follow it”.
He explained that the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011, as amended, defines Terrorism as an act deliberately perpetuated by malice, to cause serious harm or violence against individuals, governments and their assets with the intention to attain political, religious or ideological goals, through intimidation or coercion or instilling fear on civilian population.
The Acting President who made reference to history stated that
“Hate speech and the promotion of the same through history from Nazi Germany and the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential voices.”
He also called on all business, religious and political leaders to condemn hate speeches in the strongest possible terms at all times.
“The silence of leaders at this time in our country will be a grave disservice to our country, its peace and its future. Silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement”.
It would be recalled that Lt.-Gen Abdulrahman Dambazau, Minister of Interior, last week, expressed hope that a bill for the prosecution of people who engage in hate speeches is in progress.