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Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has described hate speech as an act of terrorism, saying the federal government has drawn a line on in it.

Osinbajo said this on Thursday at a security retreat with members of the national economic council (NEC). The programme is holding at the presidential villa in Abuja.

The acting president said the silence of the country’s leaders on hate speech would be a “grave disservice” to the nation.

“The federal government has today drawn the line on hate speech. Hate speech is a specie of terrorism,” Osinbajo said.

“The Terrorism Prevention Act 2011 as amended defines terrorism as an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm a country or is intended or can be reasonably be regarded as having been done to seriously intimidate a population.

“Silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement. Hate speech and the promotion of the same through history from Nazi. Germany and the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential voices.

“The silence of leaders at this time in our country will be a grave disservice to our country, its peace and its future.”

Osinbajo made the comments months after ethnic tensions heightened based on the quit notice given to Igbo resident in the northern part of the country. Youth groups in reaction to secessionist agitations in the South East.

The Arewa coalition which gave the notice said it did so in reaction to secessionist agitations by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).

The government has consistently called on individuals and groups to desist from hate speeches.

Walter Onnoghen, Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN); Babagana Monguno, national security adviser (NSA) and Lawal Daura, director-General of the Department of State Services (DSS) are among those at the programme.

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