A group, Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM) has condemned the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government for attempt to criminalise what it perceived to be “hate speech”.
The convener of NDSDM, Mrs Annkio Briggs made this position known in a statement issued on Friday and delivered to Elombah.com.
Lambasting the federal government, Mrs Briggs said:
There is new crime in Nigeria, HATE SPEECH. The Federal Government owe us a responsibility to inform us what exactly is hate speech.
From 2009 when the late President Yar’Adua was ill and eventually died (may he RIP) the people identifying and condemning this new crime they have tag hate speech gave birth to HATE SPEECH.
PGEJ, Patience Jonathan, Tompolo, Ijaw people, Niger Delta people, and many others including my humble self were threatened, on phone, papers, text, Facebook, etc.
To the extent that PGEJ is quoted as saying “I must be the most abused President on earth”.
PGEJ, his wife community and Ethnic Nationality were called all unprintable names possible in the English language and dictionary, even words that can’t be found in the dictionary have been used to describe PGEJ, his wife and ethnic Nationality.
It is urgent as the FG have officially pronounced that there is a crime called hate speech they must quickly give us an example of hate speech we can hear and read.
I have looked into the archives of what l consider hate speeches and here are some,
‘IGBOS MUST LEAVE THE NORTH BY OCTOBER 1ST 2017.’
‘There’ll be crisis if police arrest Arewa Youths’
‘Niger Delta should drink their oil’
‘The oil in the Niger Delta belongs to the North’, etc.
All the Ethnic Nationalities in Nigeria from North to South gained Independence from the United Kingdom, no one region, state, or ethnic Nationality is senior to the other we are all equal.
If one is good enough to govern Nigeria the rest are just as good to govern Nigeria.
While l advocate for nonviolence either in speech or action l will not be terrorized, frightened, threatened into silence by the FG under the impression, cover or claim that what l may have said or will say, once the FG decides is hate speech automatically becomes hate speech.
As a Nigerian if a fellow Nigerian, government official or politician says something l feel compelled to respond to if what I respond to is not hate speech then my response can’t be hate speech.
New laws should not be enacted or insinuated to further oppress Nigerians, Nigeria belongs to all of us equally.
If people were not cautioned and criminalized for insulting, abusing, disrespecting President Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President and President between 2007 and 2015, and to date Jonathan is called a thief, corrupt, weak extra, if those things said and still been said about PGEJ and other Niger Delta people who were in Jonathan’s government are not hate speeches then nothing that has been said or will be said about this government will be hate speech.
To save Nigeria we all will do it collectively, it cannot be achieved under fear; democracy needs opposition. Peace and prosperity is not about prayers, it is about Liberty, Equity, and Justice.
A government that demands commitment from its citizens will first show that it (the government) is committed to the citizens.
Nigeria must respect my right to be committed to my people, LGA, State, Region before it can expect commitment from me as a Nigerian.
We are different peoples who were brought together to be Nigerians nothing will take that fact away.
No ethnic nationality or state is more Nigerian than another; we are all equal NIGERIANs no matter the size or number.
Nigeria is at a crossroads; we have to dialogue and agree at this crossroads, which way forward as we look at the next 100 years ahead.
I say to my people and region: “don’t be afraid”. l say to Nigeria: “don’t threaten the peoples of Nigeria”.
Even the almighty God who created us for His pleasure, still gives us the choice to please Him or displease Him.
Federal Government it is your responsibility to tell us what is HATE SPEECH AND LOVE SPEECH
We are equal Nigerians though some contribute more and some less to the project Nigeria.
Some are not more Nigeria and others less Nigeria. [END]
Many Nigerians have condemned Vice President Yemi Osinbajo over his statement that hate speech will be criminalised and punished as terrorism.
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