The Centre for Information Technology and Development ( CITAD), has appealed to traditional rulers in the country to sensitise their
people on the dangers of using social media to spread hate speech.
Mr Hamza Ibrahim, the CITAD Coordinator, Countering Hate Speech Project, made the call while addressing a news conference in Kano on Tuesday.
He said the call became necessary following an increasing number of Nigerians on social media.
NAN reports that CITAD is implementing Countering Hate Speech project in Nigeria with support from the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
The project is tracking and countering hate speech and online violence against women with a view to raising awareness as well as
advocating for addressing the consequences of the phenomena.
Ibrahim said there was an urgent need for traditional rulers to lead the crusade against hate speech in order to promote tolerance among
ethnic groups in the country.
“We also want to reiterate our plea to administrators of pages and groups on Facebook to disallow any hateful, divisive or inciting piece,
We enjoin users on both Facebook and Twitter to make use of harmful content reporting means to alert the platform on any harmful
information they come across.
“We call on social media influencers on both Twitter and Facebook to strongly discourage and condemn hate speech in order to promote
peace and unity in our country,” he said.
Ibrahim noted that between Dec. 1, 2019, and Dec. 31, 2019, CITAD Hate Speech Monitoring Platform documented 205 hate speech
instances tracked mainly from social media platforms.
“Unlike in November 2019, the volume of hate speech instances dropped because we tracked 387 instances of hate speech while the volume
in December 2019 stood at 205.
“Though the number has dropped, there has been a rise and fall in various categories of the speeches as we have consistently noticed ethnic
tension through comments and remarks of Nigerians on social media,” he said.
According to him, a country as diverse as Nigeria should not underestimate the power of tolerance decay and ought to, therefore, put
measures in place to ensure sustainable mutual coexistence, respect, unity and love for one another no matter the differences in tribe,
religion, region or language.