The Federal Government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission to sanction any radio or television station that broadcasts hate speech.
It said this was part of efforts aiming at stemming the growing tide of hate speech in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, issued the directive in Abuja on Thursday at the 3rd Annual Lecture Series of the NBC, which also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the commission.
He, however, did not mention the kind of the sanction that the commission would impose on the erring radio and television stations.
He said, “As a matter of fact, the challenges facing the NBC have never become more daunting, considering the increasing propensity of some radio and television stations across the country to turn over their platforms to the purveyors of hate speech.
“It is the responsibility of the NBC to put these broadcast stations in check before they set the country on fire.
“As the NBC celebrates what is a milestone – a quarter of a century – in its existence, I urge the Commission to redouble its efforts in discharging its mandate.
“The NBC must ensure a strict adherence to the Broadcasting Code, and errant stations must be sanctioned accordingly to serve as a deterrent.
“The nation looks up to the NBC to restore sanity to the broadcast industry. The Commission cannot afford to do any less at this critical time. It cannot afford to fail the nation.”
Mohammed cited the alleged ignominious role played by a radio station in fueling the genocide in Rwanda in 1994.
He said the crisis led to the loss of over 800,000 lives in 100 days and therefore charged the NBC not to allow the purveyors of hate speech to lead Nigeria to the path of destruction.
The minister said, “If you tune into many radio stations, for example, you will be shocked by the things being said, the careless incitement to violence and the level of insensitivity to the multi-religious, multi-ethnic nature of our country.
“Unfortunately, even some of the hosts of such radio programmes do little or nothing to stop such incitements. Oftentimes, they are willing collaborators of hate speech campaigners.