OrderPaperToday – The government and Nigerian leaders should be held responsible for the rise of hate speech, a poll by OrderPaperNG has revealed.

According to the results of the poll, 47% of respondents attributed the rise of hate speech to the government and leaders, closely followed by 42% of respondents who believe that leaders and citizens both share the blame for the rise of hate speech.

Only 11% of respondents agreed that citizens are responsible for the rise of hate speech in the country.

The issue of hate speech has been trending in recent weeks following the Senate’s introduction of the National Commission for the Prohibition of Hate Speeches Bill.

The bill, which proposes death by hanging as one of the penalties for engaging in hate speech, has generated controversy and public outcry.

Following the outcome of the poll, OrderPaperNG had a chat with former senator, Foster Ogola, who  posited that hate speech is an outcome of the kind of leadership a country has.

Ogola said, “Gagging of people from expressing their mind is dictatorship, but again, freedom of speech should have responsibility attached to it. Hate speech is an outcome of the leadership of the country.

“The moment you have no space to accommodate contending views or dissenting views then you breed hate speech; that is where hate speech is coming from.

“Dictatorship, autocracy, militocracy breed hate speech – hate speech cannot come on its own”.

He added, “Hate speech should not be condoned but again, the government at the centre should do everything to run a socially, economically, and culturally inclusive government. When that is done, hate speech will disappear on its own”.

Also commenting on the matter, an Abuja based lawyer, Eni Otu Kelechukwu, noted that leaders and citizens have contributed to the rise of hate speech in Nigeria.

“Hate speech tends from our divisions, those primordial differences which have been used by both our leaders and us, citizens. It is a combination of both parties; the followers and leaders have played a role in the rise of hate speech,” Kelechukwu said.

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Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is a Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank Group. Also, Damilola's written work on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA and the West Africa Coastal Areas Management Program (WACA) Marketplace in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.

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