The Oasis Reporters
August 20, 2017
When Vice President Osinbajo who is Nigeria’s acting President before Buhari’s arrival stated at a security summit organised by the National Economic Council, NEC, which held at the Aso Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday last week
that the Federal Government has drawn the line on hate speech, which he identified as a specie of terrorism, little did he know that the Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose has a different categorisation.
The opposition party, PDP governor in Nigeria’s South west region sees Osinbajo’s definition of hate speech as a kind of terrorism as another plot by the federal government to silence the opposition, describing the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, as the prime promoter and beneficiary of hate speeches in the country.
He claimed that several provocative comments were made while the APC was angling for power, adding that “Nigerians are yet to forget President Muhammadu Buhari’s ‘the dog and the baboon would all be soaked in blood’ hate speeches and the threat by the APC to form a parallel government”.
In a statement issued on Friday by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka in Ado Ekiti, Fayose declared, “that saying the truth concerning the country and it’s rulers cannot be termed as hate speech.”
Pointing out that he was totally against hate speech and will support any effort to curb it, he stated that it was important to caution the federal government on the danger inherent in the categorisation of hate speech as treasonable.
“Even if the APC government is sincere with its new found hatred for hate speeches, the APC government must first apologise to Nigerians for being the number one promoter and beneficiary of hate speech,” he said.
Fayose advised that rather than blanket criminalising of hate speeches, the federal government should embark on the reorientation of Nigerians, particularly the youths on the consequences of hate speeches to national unity and restore the confidence of the people in government.
Osinbajo had stated that “The Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended defines terrorism as an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm a country or is intended or can be reasonably be regarded as having been done to seriously intimidate a population.
“Silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement. 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.
“The silence of leaders at this time -in our country will be a grave disservice to our country, its peace and its future.”
Many social media commentators have criticized the Osinbajo statement that came on the heels of what the Internal Affairs minister Mr. Abdulrahham Dambazzau had said on the same topic, fearing that it was a ploy to reintroduce the Decrees 2 and 4 that General Muhammadu Buhari had enacted as a military ruler in 1984 which saw to the filling up of the country’s jails with journalists and civic society leaders under the repressive regime.
Two journalists, Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were jailed for two years over a News report they had published in the Guardian newspapers in Lagos. It caused so much outrage, such that the government became unpopular.
The following year, both decrees were repealed following another change of government through a military coup.