Hate Speech Escalating Violence In Nigeria, Says U.S Govt
The Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States (U.S.) Embassy in Nigeria, Mr. David Young, has condemned the rise of hate speech in the country.
Mr. Young, who visited the scenes of attacks in Plateau State that killed over 200 people admitted that “he possibility of escalation of violence is there because of the escalation of hate speech.”
According to him, peace building and dialogue must take place at all levels of society because it is unhealthy for Christians to live in one area while Muslims live in another. ‘‘That kind of segregation creates suspicion. This leads to prejudice and hate speech. I think it is important for people to make human interactions and human connections as part of peace building.”
The U.S. Diplomat also expressed concern that the violence could precipitate reprisals, leading to an orgy of bloodletting.
“It is very essential to address the issue of impunity. The law enforcement agencies will have to react very quickly to get to the scene to prevent an escalation or even more horrific violence from happening. It is important for law enforcers to be well trained. They have to be well paid and they have to be ready to respond to emergencies,” he said.
During a question and answer session, Young said the U.S. government has spent about $200 million to provide humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons in Borno and neighbouring states.
He regretted the proliferation of arms, which he described as a huge problem the Nigerian government must address urgently, “because ultimately that is what fuels the violence.”