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Osinbajo goes tough on hate speeches

Osinbajo goes tough on hate speeches

Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday warned those fanning the embers of discord to do away with such primitive idea as the Federal Government would no longer tolerate hate speeches from any section of the country.

The acting president, who met with leaders of thought from the North, including Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said henceforth hate speeches and divisive behaviour would be met with the full weight of the law to serve as deterrent to others.

Handing down the warning, he told the Northern elite that the present crop of leaders in the country owed the upcoming generation and posterity a duty to leave behind a peaceful and prosperous nation.

He spoke against the backdrop of recent ultimatum given by a coalition of Northern youth groups asking all Igbos residing in any part of the North to relocate to their places of origin on or before October 1.

Osinbajo read the riot act in the presence of Senate President Bukola Saraki; Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara; Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Gabriel Olanishakin; Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum and former Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Comassie as well as Prof. Ango Abdullahi, a member of ACF.

Others present at the meeting included former governor of Sokoto State, Aliyu Wamako; former Deputy Governor of Plateau State, Pauline Tallen; publisher of Leadership Newspapers, Sam Ndah-Isaiah; Paul Unongo, Tijani Ramalan, editor-in chief, Daily Trust, among others.

“Every form of violence, every form of hate speech, any stone that is thrown in the market place will hit targets that are going to be deadly.

“So I need us to be fully conscious of that and the Nigerian people must be made to be fully conscious of that, so that we do not create a crisis that is not intended.

“As part of living together I know that misunderstandings and frustrations will always arise and people will always want to get the best part of the deal but we must be careful to recognise that we can only begin to talk about any part of anything when we are together in peace.

“These days, wars do not end and I am sure that those who have seen or experienced war in any shape or form will not wish it on their worst enemies.

“This is not a time to retreat behind ethnic lines, moments like this are not for isolating ourselves, I want to urge all of us here and the entire Nigerian populace to come together and work together.

“As a government we are determined to ensure the unity of the country along the lines of our constitution and I want to say that hate and divisive speech or divisive behaviour where it is illegal will be met with the full force of the law.

“I want to ensure that there is no doubt at all that it is the resolve of the government that none will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause sedition or that can cause violence especially because when we make these kinds of pronouncement and do things that can cause violence or destruction of lives and property we are no longer in control. Those who make those speeches are no longer in control.

“So I want to emphasise that government will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or disrupt the peace of this country. And that is very important because you cannot control violence once it begins”.

 

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