By Bashir Mohammed
Senior Programme Officer, Centre for Information Technology and Technology and Development (CITAD), Malam Isah Garba, has said that the centre had captured 653 hate speeches in the month of September, majority of which were made by youths via the social media.
Speaking at its monthly press briefing in Kano yesterday, Garba said allowing hate speech to continue online, the greater the danger its poses to the unity and existence of the nation especially when the contents of online hate speeches begun to manifest in physical and societal relations.
He said the continued exchange of hate speech on the social media by people who should be educated was a major source of concern, adding that the greater percentage of hate speeches was done by young people who should be the future mirror of the society.
Garba said hate speeches found fertile ground when social conditions were bad and competition for resources was extreme, stressing that the economic crisis in the country had led to increased impoverishment of the people and the collapse of local businesses.
He pointed out that monitoring without countering was counterproductive and that CITAD had alongside the monitors constantly took actions to counter hate speeches.
He affirmed that the effort was made by using strategies which included inoculation of individuals, public sensitisation, deployment of moral sanction and advocacy to enlist influential voices.
Garba called on religious and ethnic leaders to refrain from using inciting language and caution their followers against using hate speech to voice their grievances and to publicly condemn hate speech where it was made and take the task of enlightening the public against hate and dangerous speeches.