The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina; the Publisher of Premium Times online media, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi, and former Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters, Senator Umar Dahiru Tambuwal, have called on politicians to avoid hate speech in their campaigns and utterances in the build-up to the 2019 general elections so as not to create tension in the country.
The trio, who spoke at a conference on Hate Speech and Campus Journalism Awards Ceremony organised by Youths Digest in Abuja, warned that hate speech, as evil does nobody any good, must be avoided by politicians and religious leaders in the interest of the corporate existence of the country.
The event also honoured 20 outstanding student journalists and writers and top media executives for their contributions to campus journalism and investigative reporting in Nigeria.
In his remarks, Femi Adesina appealed to the political class to learn from the evil that befell some countries as a result of hate speech which created tension and civil disturbances.
Specifically, the presidential spokesperson appealed that Nigerians must check and guard personal utterances, especially unsubstantiated allegations capable of provoking misunderstanding among various groups and political class.
Speaking on the theme of the event: “Curbing hate speech on social media,” the guest speaker at the occasion and publisher of Premium Times, Mr. Dapo Olorunyomi said that education and debate must be effectively used against hate speech so as to ensure sustainability of the nation’s democracy.
Olorunyomi, whose lecture was mainly centred on the activities of the social media, appealed to owners of online media to uphold credibility and integrity, adding that all process leading to news gathering, and dissemination must be made credible, accurate and truthful.
He informed that his organization is already working with other established media outfits in the country to check hate speech reports among them.
Also former Chairman, Senate Committee on Judiciary and Human Rights, Senator Umar Dahiru Tambuwal, appealed to the political, religious leaders and indeed the entire Nigerians to sustain the prevailing peace in the country.
He specifically pleaded with politicians to play by the rule of the game, warning that clamouring for issues capable of derailing the prevailing peace will not be in the nation’s interest.
The Editor of Youth Digest magazine, the organiser of the event, Gidado Yushau Shuaib said that the event was organized to highlight the dangers of hate speech among the youth and confer award of excellence on best campus journalists who were selected from different higher institutions across the federation.
Apart from 20 students who were honoured with different categories of the award, the Publisher of Premium Times Dapo Olorunyomi and Managing Editor (North) of the Nation newspaper, Mallam Yusuf Alli were honoured for their contributions to campus journalism and investigative reporting in Nigeria
The conference was attended by former Director Defence Information (DDI), Major General Chris Olukolade (rtd), Managing Director Jaiz Takaful Momodou Musa Joof and other dignitaries from public and private sectors.
The organiser of the event, Youths Digest is a publication of Image Merchants Promotion Limited, publishers of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential.