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AUN Represents Nigeria In Facebook Anti-Hate Speech Campaign Competition

The American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola is to represent Nigeria in the coming  Facebook Peer-To-Peer (P2P) Global Digital Challenge for universities aim at countering online hate and extremism.

The Coordinator of P2P in the institution, Mr Ibanga Isine, made this known in a statement in Yola.

Isine said that the university represented Nigeria in the last edition where it came second after Bangladesh, adding that the university had earlier won the Africa edition of the challenge held in Accra, Ghana.

According to Isine, research carried out by students in the course of the campaign showed that religion, politics and ethnicity were the major drivers of hate and radical comments in the country which occur mostly on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp.

“To counter it, we conceived a theme: I stand for Nigeria and a slogan: ‘Come and stand with me’ for our campaign’ “.

Isine said that AUN has been carrying out the campaign through joint rallies with other tertiary institutions across the state and through activities on Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, radio and television “targeting millions of young people and other Nigerians across religious, political and ethnic divides.”

Meanwhile, the Special Adviser, Media and Publicity to Nigeria’s President, Femi Adesina, has endorsed campaign initiated by students of the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State.

In a special call to the campaign Coordinator, Ibanga Isine, the presidential spokesperson said he resolutely support the initiative

While Adesina urged Nigerians to abhor hate and extremist comments, he called for the people to root for a united and indivisible country   

“I stand for Nigeria. I stand for one united and indivisible country. One in which we love one another. One in which we respect one another’s religion. One in which we respect another’s ethnic origin and background,” Adesina  said.

“I stand resolutely against hate speech and I stand against anything that has the slightest affinity to hate speech.

“I urge Nigerians to love and respect one another This is the only country we have. If we mess it up, then we have messed up not only ourselves but our future and the future of our children.

“I stand for a united and indivisible Nigeria. Things may be hard. Things may be tough. Things may not be exactly the way we want them to be but I believe we are on the way to a better Nigeria. Join me to stand for Nigeria.”

Responding, spokesperson for the #IStandForNigeria team, Miss Salome Nuhu, expressed appreciation for Adesina’s endorsement of the campaign and called on well-meaning Nigerians to join the campaign.

Nuhu, however, called on the Nigerian government to adopt the campaign because of its potential to significantly reduce the level of hate and extremists conversations in the country. 

Our campaign was devised after careful research and analysis of findings, adding that the theme: “I Stand For Nigeria,” and the slogan, “Come stand with me,” addressed the core of the problem the country has been grappling with.

 “The theme, ‘I Stand For Nigeria,’ and the slogan, ‘Come Stand With Me,’ were conceived after the class carried out rigorous research to uncover the nuances of hate and radical conversations in the country,” she said.

“We found that religion, politics, and ethnicity are the major drivers of hate and radical expressions, especially on social media.

“Our findings also showed that Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp are the platforms were hate and extremist conversations take place the most.

“While Facebook was reported as having  65 percent of the antisocial comments, Twitter had 18 percent, while WhatsApp had 17 percent.

“Our findings tallied with the Dangerous Speech Monitoring System of the Kano-based Center for Information Technology and Development (CITAD).”

Nuhu said CITAD recorded 5978 dangerous speeches targeting ethnicity while 5276 targeted religion in Nigeria between May 2016 and October 4, 2017.

“To counter the hate and radical narratives and rekindle among Nigerians, a sense of patriotism, unity and love for the country, the class adopted the theme: ‘I Stand For Nigeria,’ and a slogan, ‘Come Stand With Me,’” Nuhu said

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