Tackling ‘Hate Speech’ As A Key To Achieving Sustainable Development In Nigeria, By Suraj Bamalli
Hate Speech is indeed a menace in our Society. Hate Speech is defined as any speech that attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as religion, race, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability or gender.
Before dwelling on some vital issues with regards to the subject matter, I’d like to lay a background on some of the basics or rather major factors that leads to Hate Speech.
In my Opinion, Hate Speech never evolved from the skies, it’s as a result of wanting to denigrate someone or a group whom you feel is doing better or in competition with you, but in real sense, just because you’re competing shouldn’t be an excuse to calumniate someone but rather improve on oneself. Majorly, Persons or group who feel defeated seem to only paint black as a revenge.
Hate Speech is rampant in our present society and needs to be looked into with all sense of urgency. In an era of digital world where someone can comfortably sit at the comfort of his couch and fabricate stories just to feel relevant or score some cheap political points as the case may be, it is a duty bound our relevant agencies to checkmate this issue of Hate speech and Fake News.
It’s not a coincidence that we live in a country where our constitution guarantees every citizen to share his view(s) on contemporary issues, alas, this freedom is abused on a daily basis. Nonetheless the Vice President while acting as the President months ago vividly labeled Hate Speech as “Tantamount of Terrorism”.
In Nigeria’s Constitution, we virtually have laws that only need to be enforced in order to tackle this menace called Hate Speech. Section 42 talked on fake news just to cause mayhem and also Section 86 talked on threatening Violence, So also Section 88. Our Institutions needs to seriously stand up to this task.
Looking at the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 16 which is all about Promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, the provision of access to justice for all, and building effective, accountable institutions at all levels is targeted at Promoting the rule of law at the national and international levels and ensure equal access to justice for all amongst others.
For Nigeria as a country to fully committed towards achieving the 2030 Agenda, we have to ensure that there is Peace. Peace can only reign if we strengthen our institutions to tackle issues like Hate Speech so as to actualize “The World We Want”.
As we all know, everyone is a stakeholder towards achieving the SDGs, young people have greater roles to play in achieving the SDGs. It is however unfortunate that some of these youths are the same set of people undermining the actualization of the 2030 Agenda.
Nowadays, when you check our social media platforms, you’ll be left in tears seeing how young people work effortlessly to bring their fellows down, defame personalities, ethnic groups or even religions. This is coming at a time when young people are expected to be formidable as one and work together towards achieving a stronger and United Nigeria of our Dream.
I recently shared my views with young people in Gombe during a program organized by Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development. I believe everyone must play his part towards tackling the issue of Hate Speech before it harms us severely as a Nation.
We as a people must at all cost condemn Hate Speech regardless from who or where it comes from, we must also end any form of impunity against hate crimes and bring perpetrators to book, this can only be achieved if victims and witnesses report any hate related crime to the necessary law enforcement agents.
More also, rigorous awareness should be made on social, political and cultural rights of individuals and Groups.
Let’s All Stand and Say NO to HATE SPEECH.
Twitter Handle: @SurajBamalli