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24 Aug 2017

HATE SPEECH: Arrest religious, traditional leaders, says Sultan

The Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has called on the Federal Government to prosecute religious and traditional leaders, involved in propagating hate speeches.
The Sultan, who spoke on Thursday, in Abuja, at the 25th Anniversary Event of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), urged the government agencies to invoke relevant sections of the law to prosecute those involved in spreading hate speeches.
The event, which has ‘Cosmopolitanism: Nigeria Ethnic Politics and the Communication of Hate’ as its theme, also had the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and other top government functionaries in attendance.
The Sultan said: “I fully support the decision of the Federal Government to punish hate speech. There are laws in this country.
We lend our strong support to this move. This is very apt. The broadcast of the President last Monday that he will visit the full wrath of the law on hate speeches is good. “As Muslims, the Quran criminalises hate speech.
This is not new to us. Religious leaders at all levels must not use their platforms to make hate speeches. If such things happen, the government has the responsibility to bring such religious leaders to book. Even traditional rulers should be punished and brought to book.”
The Sultan, while speaking on the need to coexist peacefully, denied reports in some sections of the media that he is opposed to restructuring.
He said he was misquoted by a section of the media when he spoke at an event, organised by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday.
Sa’ad said what he opposes is the disintegration of the country. He maintained that he wants a fair and just society, where the rights of every Nigerian will be respected.
“I did not kick against restructuring. I can make my case anytime. I said if restructuring means destroying the country to reduce it to small republics, I against it. I said if it means making life better for our people, I am in support of it,” he added.
“We want to commend the leadership of NBC. They have made progress in recent times. The foundation of the agency is very strong. The theme of this year’s lecture was one of the reasons why I accepted to be part of this discourse.
“Some of you who followed the media saw me at the NLC event. I was shocked when I was went back home. They said there was fracas at the event. I said nothing like that happened. Former Edo governor made a comment and people did not like it booed him. That is the beauty of democracy. “We broadcast things we do not think are true. This theme is apt. The social media and the broadcast platforms have the potentials of starting violence in this country. I know that the constitution guarantees the freedom of speech.
It should not be used to violate the rights of others. Every responsible society must come up with ways to manage the social media and hate speeches through broadcast houses.
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