Nigeria to prosecute media houses promoting hate speeches

Acheme Jack, Kano

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The Nigerian government is ready to prosecute any person or group of persons who engages in hate speeches as well as any media houses that allowed itself to be used by persons.

The Minister of Information Mr. Lai Muhammed gave warning at the 2nd National Union of Journalist (NUJ) National conference held in Kano state with the theme; “Hate Speech: Halting the tide before it is too late “.

He said that journalism, which is well guided by professional ethics and standard was poised to enhance peaceful co-existence in the society.

The Minister revealed the new disposition of government on hate speeches, and cited the 2011 terrorism act, saying  “henceforth, offenders of dangerous comments would be treated in accordance with the act. “

Mr Lai reminded the media that government directive on National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction any broadcast station who allows its air wave to be used as medium for promotion of hate speeches, still stands.

He posited that as postulated by provisions of the constitution, freedom of expression and speeches, such privilege should not be abused.

Declaring the conference open, Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje said “national discuss on hate speeches can not be considered more appropriate given the multiple challenges bedeviling the country’s unity and values.

Infiltration of the new media
A former NUJ president, Sani Zoro who also chaired that opening session of the conference lamented infiltration of new media with unverified information.

He confessed that attempt to initiate provisions of law to control the abuse of the society degenerated into confusion at the national assembly.

The current NUJ President Abdulwaheed Odusile cautioned members while exercising their powers on desks to be mindful of national interest.

“As journalists and editors, we have the responsibility to keep out all manners of hate speeches and filter any traces inimical to our peaceful coexistence as a nation,”  he cautioned.

The  two day event brought together over 400 delegates from across the 36 sates of the federation.

Confidence Okwuchi