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REPORT OF THE NORTHWEST REGIONAL SENSITIZATION ON DANGEROUS SPEECH

In its continues effort to address the proliferation of hate and dangerous speech in the country , the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) on 1th of November, 2016 held yet another regional Public Sensitization on Dangerous speech  for the Northwest Region, held at the Green House, Mani Road , Katsina Katsina state. CITAD team, at the occasion comprises M. Ibrahim Nuhu, Training Officer,  Hamza Ibrahim,  Shazali sunusi and Abdullahi Balarabe.

Hamza Ibrahim opened the programme with welcome remarks on behalf of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) and the MacArthur Foundation who support the project. He drew the attention of the participants to give maximum cooperation and participate actively in the programme so as attain the objectives of the  programme.

The first session was on the understanding of hate and dangerous speech which was also led by Hamza Ibrahim who led the participant to understand what dangerous speech is, means of identifying dangerous speech, coming down to specific local contextual definition of the hate speech as:

“To contextualize the concept, we regard as dangerous speech any speech act that is aimed at inciting the audience to denigrate against people others of the basis of ethnicity, religion, gender, geography and any other socially conceived parameter with the purpose of marginalizing them or placing them at some disadvantage that is contrary to the provisions of the universal declaration on human rights as well as the international covenants on rights of the people. This does not include the peculiar joking relations that exist in some communities, practiced between two or more ethnic/linguistic groups that have historically been used as a conflict resolution mechanism. Substantively, we see dangerous/hate speech in the Nigerian context as speech act that:

  1. Insults people for their religion
    2. Abuses people for their ethnic or linguistic affiliation
    3. Expresses contempt against people because of their place of origin
    4. Disparages or intimidates women or girls because of their gender
    5. Condones discriminatory assertions against people living with disability 
    6. Abuses or desecrates symbols of cultural or religious practices 
    7. Denigrates or otherwise ridicules traditional or cultural institutions of other people 
    8. Deliberate spread falsehood or rumours that demeans or maligns or otherwise ostracizes other people on the basis of religion, ethnicity, gender or place of origin for the accident of one form of disability or the other

COMMENTS/ SUGGESTIONS

The second ssession was on Strategies of Countering Hate/ Dangerous speech handled by M. Ibrahim Nuhu. He led the participants through ways and strategies of countering hate speech , giving example of some identified  hate speeches and most appropriate strategy for countering such.

After the two session participants were given the chance to make comments and suggestions on the proramme in general and these are some of the comments and suggessions:

  • Ahmad Salisu suggested that  CITAD should organize this type of sensitization lecture for printing and online newspapers, because  the news headlines of some Print Newspaper are  lead the audience to generate hate speech.  According to him our newspapers divide the Nation instead of uniting us; he also gave example of the some newspapers serve the interest of a particular ethnic or region.
  • CITAD should create a forum or campaign to sensitize public on the dangers of citizens taking laws into their hands in terms of accusations or misunderstanding.
  • This work is not for CITAD alone is for general public to campaign against, condemn, and also counter any hate speech that we come across our life till our country become free hate speech.
  • One of the Female participants asserted that:  “I’m fully sensitized on hate speech and also educated on how to counter it, to me I choose proactive action strategy, we thank CITAD for enlighten us” she further requested that next time if CITAD  wish to organize any event like this in Katsina  females should constitute the hghiest number of the participants  than male because they take things  serious than male, and lastly promise CITAD that Katsina State will be role model in this campaign against hate speech  over the nation.

Mal. Huzaifa of CITAD, Katsina gave the closing remark, he thanked the participants for the time and active participation throughout the sessions.

About Adamu Umar

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