Wednesday 24th May, 2017
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Hate speech and Lai Mohammed's 48 strokes of cane (2)

Hate speech and Lai Mohammed's 48 strokes of cane (2)

Should I have the resources and manpower, I would have organized an inde­pendent opposition against the office of the Minister for infor­mation as his utterances now has been most uncoordinated with regards to the gusto he relishes speaking against every act of Jonathan’s presidency. Whenever I watch him speak­ing in defence of numerous anti people policies that have forced recession on all of us, I marvel on how our memories fail us suddenly for being in position. The hunter is being hunted but all those who con­nived with Lai Mohammed as opposition couldn’t under­stand how to speak truth to power now since the table has turned. What impudence!
Look at the Presidency’s ding-dong tale of the president’s health status and what Lai Mo­hammed said during Yar’Adua era demanding for daily brief but today he couldn’t also brief the nation daily on status of Buhari, and was disturbing my audible senses with his reasons on why it should not be. He has no moral right to ask for stop to hate speech without first apologizing to Nigerians for his past activism in that regards. Directly or indirectly, Lai Mo­hammed was the apostle of hate speech and vile propaganda.
Needless regurgitating for him all he said against Jona­than’s presidency and the sup­port to every dissenting tone during PDP’s era. APC’s roller coaster now without strong op­position is the undoing of our democracy. Any atom of re­spect remaining from his per­ceived opposition spokesper­son, has been lost as nobody is impressed with his grandstand­ing now. The jeer and sneer in social media and offline indi­cates the almighty opposition now in government has nothing to offer the Nigerian populace.
The worst case scenario is that as ruling party , the APC daily spin lies, outright lies on issues the public are witnesses to yet expect support. One day, he would realize that people should not be taken for granted or for a ride and true power belongs to them despite the intimidation and blackmail be­ing experienced now in hands of APC even when the people are ravaged by hunger, depri­vation and untold hardship.
Nigeria’s Minister of Infor­mation and Culture, Lai Mo­hammed was quoted as saying for Nigeria to achieve a just and egalitarian society, appropri­ate legislation must be enacted to check hate speeches. He spoke in Lagos at the Confer­ence Dinner of the First West Africa Regional Round of the Oxford Prize Media Law Moot Court Competition.
The minister who raised concern over the growing prevalence of hate speeches in the country said that ap­propriate laws must be en­acted to check the trend.
“Hate speech is becoming increasingly prevalent in all areas of our national endeav­our, including religious, social, political and communal life.
“Experts, therefore, alerted that the level, trend and occur­rence of hate speech constitute a threat to the peace, unity and security of the country.
“The phenomenon, if left unchecked, could grow to become a hydra-headed monster which latently and silently creates a Rwandan-type experience,’’ he said.
The minister recalled that at the run-up to the 2015 Presi­dential election, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) observed and con­demned a rise in hate speech.
He said the rising spate of hate speeches worsened, even after the elections with “the rising number of vio­lent groups and violent ac­tivities perpetrated under the cover of religious, pseudo-religious and agitation groups’’.
The minister noted that Since the 1960s, many liberal democracies have instituted laws that penalise hate speech and hate crimes in ways that limit the freedom for rac­ists to express themselves.
“Belgian law penalises public announcements of intention to discriminate, hate or perpe­trate violence against persons on grounds of race, colour, origin, descent or nationality.
“Danish law also for­bids public statements that threaten, insult or degrade on account of race, skin col­our, national/ethnic origin, faith or sexual orientation.
“In the same vein, Sweden punishes racial agitation, which includes expressions that threaten or demonstrate con­tempt on the grounds of race, colour, national/ethnic affilia­tion or religious belief.’’ He said.
Mohammed said he is aware that Section 39 (1) of the 1999 Constitution guar­anteed freedom of expression.
He, however pointed out that Section 45 (1) of the same Constitution provides caveat that the exercise of the freedom shall not under­mines public safety, public order and national security.
Google Regional Represent­ative, Mrs Titilayo Akinsanmi said that Google recognised the consequences of hate speeches being posted on line and committed to fighting it.
She said that not less than 400 videos are being uploaded on YouTube in every single minute. Akinsanmi disclosed that in 2016, Google removed 92 million videos globally for the violation of their policies.
I agree with Mohammed and Google rep Akinsanmi but the penalty should start with him and all those who have promoted lies and half-truth as norm in order to covet power and authority, only to turn against what they promoted simply because the hunter became hunted.
Lai Mohammed should know that outright lies, half-truth and bile propaganda are in the same category as hate speeches. He should henceforth trade honourably as a minister and say things the way they are, request of all his propaganda arms to be mindful that Nigeria and Nigerians are in dire need of good governance as its prior­ity and not smart and gulli­ble deceit to remain relevant.
This is because he who wants equity should go with clean hands. This is the right part to tread and not ignominious 48 lashes of the cane awaiting liars and negative propagan­dists at the appropriate time.

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