Rights commission decries hate speeches, commentaries ahead of polls
THE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Wednesday decried the alarming rate of hate speeches that have characterised electioneering campaigns and political commentaries in the country ahead of next month’s elections.
Also, the commission outrightly condemned the advertorial sponsored by Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State captioned “Nigeria: Be Warned”, saying it amounted to hate speech and violated all norms and standards and provisions of the Electoral Act which prohibit speeches and publications of this nature.
Speaking at a media roundtable organised by the commission in Abuja, Chairman of the Governing Council of NHRC, Dr. Anslem Chidi Odinkalu who expressed this position, also urged the Nigerian media to renew its commitment to its social responsibility by ensuring that it refuses to publish or broadcast any statement that has any semblance of the hate speech.
Odinkalu, who warned that hate speeches were capable of inciting the people into violence, as was the case in Kenya during the dark days of post-elections, which turned bloody, said the media was a major “gate-keeper” in efforts to rid the polity of hate speeches, pointing out that if the media failed to publish or air a statement containing hate, the country would have taken a major step towards winning the campaign to bring decorum and sanity to the polity.
The commission also faulted the Rev. Fr. Mbaka for violating the Electoral Act by using the pulpit to speak politics.
“Rev. Fr. Mbaka breached Section 95 of the Electoral Act twice by using the pulpit to speak for President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.