As Nigerian government especially Kaduna State Government is making efforts to review existing laws on hate speech to conform to the reality on ground, section 379 and 380 of the Penal Code been said to be too mild for an offence that is capable of setting people against one another hence the call on the government to review these sections.
While section 379 of the penal code stipulates an imprisonment of two years with an option of fine of N50,000, section 380 provides for only 6 months imprisonment with an option of N10,000 or both, no one should insult the dignity of anyone and get away with a fine of just N10,000, Director General (Media and Publicity) to immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Alhaji Ahmed Maiyaki has said.
Speaking as a guest speaker and award recipient at a one-day symposium and award presentation organised by National Association of Kaduna State Students (NAKASS) held in Kaduna over the weekend, the media expert called on Kaduna state government to provide for stringent punitive prison terms with no option of fine in order to properly address the trend.
According to Maiyaki, hate speech employs discriminatory method to insult and stigmatize others on the basis of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or other forms of group membership, “hate speech is simply any utterance, gesture, conduct, writing or display, which could incite people to violence or prejudicial action.
“Examples of hate languages can be found in our daily conduct. When you refer to someone as ‘Arne’. That is derogatory. That is hate speech. When you refer to someone as ‘Mallam’ or ‘Aboki’ or you call a lady ‘Karuwa’ simply because she is not dressed in a way that pleases you. That is hate speech”, he highlighted.
Maiyaki noted that, peaceful co-existence begins with constructive, beautiful narrative about people, nation, schools among others as type of relationship that should exist between states with different social systems.
“The problem is that hate speech is often the gateway to discrimination, harassment and violence as well as a precursor to serious harmful criminal acts. It is doubtful if there will be hate-motivated violent attacks on any group without hate speech and the hatred it purveys as prelude.
“Many of the civil wars in the world sprung up from agitations that were laced with hate speech. On many occasions, genuine agitations lose their legitimacy when the advocacy is laced with elements of hatred”, he said.
Citing the example of Rwnada genocide of1994, he reminded the gathering that, the killings which is the worst in history was caused by hate language between the “Tutsis” and the “Hutus”, one group labeling the other as ‘cockroaches’.
“At the end of the 100-day war, available records say about 1 millions corpses of men, women and children were identified. This is aside corpses that were thrown into rivers, wells or burnt beyond recognition.
“Let me try and give us a vivid picture of the nature of the barbarism that happened during the unfortunate war. An average of 6 people were killed in every minute during the war. Between 250,000 to 500,000 women were raped. Another 20,000 girls were also raped and 67% of these raped women were infected with HIV or AIDS. 75,000 children were orphaned in that war. That is why today in Rwanda, the eldest among the surviving children heads 1 in every 4 households, 70% of the country’s population are ladies without husbands to marry. This is the result of hate language.
“Distinguished ladies and gentlemen; I am sure this is not the kind of Kaduna or Nigeria that we dream of for ourselves, our children and grand children. I believe we want a prosperous and developed nation, free of discrimination, with equal opportunities for all.
“These, however, are only possible when we respect one another and treat everyone with dignity. After all, we were all created by God”, he commended.
POSTED BY EDITOR