In its move to mitigate incidences of hate speech and corruption which over the years have proven counter productive, and breed anarchy in the land, the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), has on Wednesday presented two books in Yola.
Presenting the books entitled, “Context and content in hate speech discourse in Nigeria” and “The compromised state, How corruption sustains insecurity in Nigeria,” respectively, Isa Garba, senior program officer of CITAD said the production of the two books was in line with CITAD’s culture of documenting developments.
He noted that in view of the poor reading culture in Nigeria, his organization decided to present the books to journalist who will then pass the good message to the general public in a simplified manner.
He noted that hate speech has become so common in Nigeria because politicians, religious bigots and ethnic chauvinists see it as a ready tool to further their nefarious agenda of destabilizing the polity regardless of its consequences on the society.
Garba noted that it is apt that the issue of hate speech is brought to the front burner of public discourse because of its deleterious effect on the society, adding that it was the singular cause for the Rwandan Genocide in which no fewer than 800,000 people were gruesomely massacred in a matter of 100 days.
He noted that such debilitating messages were also responsible for the death of no fewer than 1000 lives in Kenya.
Garba noted that in order to guard against the intergenerational transfer of hate speech, his organization has adopted a system that crowd source what is perceived as hate speech which is analysed using hate speech monitors.
Expressing dismay over the potency of hate speech in Nigeria’s realm, Garba noted that it has become so egregious that both the online and conventional media use it to achieve an odious agenda.
He noted that in view of the complexity of Nigerian polity, CITAD is trying to come up with an acceptable definition of hate speech noting that it has been vigorously engaging stakeholders to that effect.
Garba however noted that research has shown that about 92% of hate speech is related to religion and ethnicity calling on journalists to enlighten the general public to be weary of those using religion and ethnicity to further their selfish proclivities at the detriment of the society.
He noted that one very disturbing and dangerous dimension of hate speech is the stereotyping of criminals along ethnic or religious lines.
He noted that CITAD is not canvassing for change of laws to address the issue of hate speech as Nigeria has sufficient laws that can curtail the preponderance of such ugly developments, adding that his organization is championing sensitization on the need for the general public to know the effect of such negative tendencies.
Garba while reiterating the determination of his organization to ensure drastic reduction in corruption called on journalists to borrow a leaf by bringing out how the menace destroys institutions and societies in Toto.
He noted that conflict entrepreneurs capitalize on corruption to deepen society’s malaise by creating artificial insecurity and unrests.
Garba called on the journalist to up their ante in reportage of corruption in a manner that the ordinary man will decipher, adding that instead of reporting the quantum amount stolen, it is rather proper for journalists to tell the public the opportunities lost as a result of that corrupt act.