By Hamza Ibrahim Chinade.
Apart from monitoring and countering Hate and Dangerous Speeches both online and offline, Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) also sensitize the public on the same concept, it is in continuation of the public enlightenment that CITAD with support from MacArthur Foundation today held a public sensitization on Hate and Dangerous Speech in Owerri, the capital of Imo state. The center has not long ago organized the sensitization in Akwa Ibom state.
Giving opening remarks at the beginning of the sensitization lecture, the project’s coordinator and Senior Programmes Officer Isah Garba gave a background of the project, it’s other components and the role individual members of the society can play in getting rid of Hate and Dangerous Speech, he advised the participants to give with interest, join the campaign against Hate and Dangerous Speech as well educate others about so that according to him societal peace and harmony will reign.
Four sessions were facilitated by different resource persons, the sessions included: Understanding Dangerous Speech, Trends in Hate Speech, Strategies for Countering Hate Speech and Reporting Online Hate Speakers. The presentations have given elaborate explanation on many concepts. Contributing during general discussion session, many participants regretted the effects Hate Speech has especially on different tribal and religious followers, “hate speech is widening hatred along religious lines and is polarizing people along tribal lines”, a participants said. Some of the issues the participants want addressed in order to curb Hate Speech included addressing social inequality and economic imbalances, sensitizing corp members on Hate Speech at their different orientation camps, introducing subjects that promoting national unity in schools and encouraging the students and youths on avoiding Hate Speech. Concerns, observations and recommendations to different stakeholders on the curbing Hate and Dangerous Speech are contained in the communiqué issued at the end of the sensitization. The event was attended by civil society groups, political party representatives, students, women groups, youths organizations, traditional and religious leaders and the media among others. Giving a vote of thanks on behalf of the participants, Prince Chimezie Okoro thanked CITAD for holding the event and appreciated the religious and traditional leaders present at the lecture and advised all the participants to take the sensitization to their various communities.