By Hamza Ibrahim Chinade.
As it widens the scope and strategy of curbing Hate and Dangerous Speech in Nigeria especially on social and conventional media with a view to ending religious and tribal speech, utterances or comments that pose threat to peace and mutual coexistence among adherents of different religions, tribes, affiliations, or groups, the Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has engaged people of the North-Eastern part of the country in Jalingo, the Taraba state capital in a public sensitization lecture that extensively treated issues of concern on Hate and Dangerous Speech.
CITAD implements “Curbing Hate and Dangerous Speech Project” with support from Mac Arthur Foundation and has been holding public sensitizations across different regions of the country to complement the monitoring and countering Hate and Dangerous Speech, engaging religious, tribal and community leaders, monthly press briefing and other mechanisms aimed at putting a stop to Hate and Dangerous Speech as well as promoting understanding, tolerance and mutual respect among people.
Giving an opening remark, the project’s coordinator who is also the Senior Programmes Officer Peace and Conflict, Malam Isah Garba noted that the Jalingo public sensitization is a continuation of the project’s engagement with the public in order to enlighten them and seek their inputs towards eradicating Hate and Dangerous Speech especially on social media cautioning that Hate and Dangerous Speech poses a serious threat that needs to be confronted collectively, he added that Jalingo was chosen to host the public sensitization for North-East.
The participants were sensitized on the concept of Hate and Dangerous Speech, their criteria and qualifications, countering measures and how they can join the advocacy for condemning Hate and Dangerous Speech and strengthening and promoting the cause of peace especially among social media users. Many questions were raised by the participants and addressed by the facilitators. Other participants also recommended that the sensitization be conducted continuously and at different states other than on regional basis so that numerous stakeholders will be targeted. Following the public sensitization lecture, the participating students from Taraba State University and College of Education Zing have resolved to establish Students for Peace Associations in their institutions while grass root youths organizations that have no online presence also resolved to create social media accounts to join the campaign and communicate resolutions of the sensitizations to other youths who are absent the lecture. The public sensitization ended with a communiqué jointly released by the participating CSOs, religious and tribal organizations. The event was attended by representatives of Jama’atul Nasril Islam (JNI), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), youths and students associations, women groups, Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Associations of Nigeria (MACBAN) and the media among others.