Abuja- Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo has on Thursday declared hate speech to be a specie of terrorism, saying that the Federal Government has drawn a line on it and offenders to face the consequences.
Speaking at the National Executive Council(NEC) meeting in Abuja, Osinbajo stressed that the intimidation of a population by words or by speech is an act of terrorism and the government intends to take the matter very seriously.
According to him; “Terrorism as it is defined popularly is the unlawful use of violence or intimidation against individuals or groups especially for political ends. The law, that is the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended), defines terrorism as inter Alia, an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm or damage a country or seriously intimidate a population.
“As I have said, we’ve 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 however took a swipe at leaders for keeping silence while their people engage in hate speeches; “When leaders in communities that speak in such a manner as to create dissension or to intimidate a population are quiet, they do a great disservice to our unity and nation.
“Speech that promotes violence against an individual or group, especially when such comes from people of your own faith, tribe or group, your silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement” he said.
The Acting President further explained that, “Hate speech, and the promotion of the same throughout 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 from the aggressor communities.
“This is why I urge all of our political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders and all of those who truly want a united country and a country where there will be peace and security, to ensure that we do not tolerate by our silence the hate speech that we hear every day in our community” He added.
He further called on all business, religious and political leaders, regardless of their religion, tribe or faith to condemn in the strongest possible terms at all times, hate speech.