GOVERNMENTS at all levels should be proactive by putting in place laws that criminalise hate speech and punish fake news as a way of promoting peace in the country.
This was the advocacy of Professor Taslim Ayobami Hammed of the Department of Guidance and Counselling, University of Ibadan, at the 2018 edition of the annual October lecture of The Muslim Congress (TMC), Oyo State chapter, held in Ibadan, last weekend.
Professor Hammed, speaking on the topic “Hate Speech and Its Implications: Lessons from Other Climes,” said there was the need for the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and all ministries of information to educate the Nigerian populace on the use of social media.
To check hate speech, “which is usually accompanied by hostility, violence and discrimination,” the don said the government agencies should set up advocacy and sensitisation groups to promote friendly usage of social media.
He also called for the regulation of social media without necessarily infringing on the right to free press, which itself could be enhanced through education on media laws and ethics.
Professor Hammed implored all scholars to embark on the preaching of man’s universality, just as he advocated the infusion of “Peace Education” into the school curriculum.
The Deputy Director Programmes (English), Voice of Nigeria (VON), Alhaji AbdusSalam AbdurRazaq Awayewaserere, who also delivered a lecture on “Before and Beyond 2019: Recipe for Peace in Our Nation,” attributed what he called the lack of peace in the country to tribalism, economic challenges, religious intolerance, brigandage, among other things.
To ensure enduring peace in the society, he urged all and sundry to return to God, rebuild the family and entrench social values, while also calling on the government to ensure adequate care for the poor and the vulnerable.
The National Amir of TMC, Imam Luqman AbdurRaheem, said the theme of this year’s lecture, “Nigeria’s Stability: Religious and Political Leaders on Call,” was aimed at highlighting some of the challenges and problems facing the nation and the solutions.
On the forthcoming general election, Imam AbdurRaheem, whose speech was delivered by the Waali of TMC in Oyo State, Alhaji Daud Oladosu, said the “stiff competition” in the elections held recently in Ekiti and Osun states showed that the people had become more aware and were ready to take their destinies in their hands.
“Having said this, we must warn the populace against vote-buying and vote-selling. Both are crimes according to the electoral laws of the land. Aside from this, there is no benefit to be gained from selling one’s future and the future of generations unborn for just a plate porridge.
“Let us all acquire the political education necessary to distinguish between political jobbers and the politicians who have the interest of the nation at heart. The power in your thumb should be used to usher in an era of progress and development for the nation through the election of credible candidates.
“Let us eschew violence, ballot-box snatching and intimidation at the polling units. The election period should rather be one of friendship, good neighbourliness and understanding. It should not be a do-or-die affair,” he said.
At the event, prizes were presented to Ogunsina Abdullah, Adegoke Fatiah and Abdur-Rasaq Dhul-Qarnain, winner and first and second runner-up, respectively, of TMC Oyo State 2018 Spelling Bee.
Consolation prizes were also presented to the fourth and fifth positions.
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