Earlier this week, a video allegedly showing Katsina State governor, Ibrahim Shema, urging a group of his supporters to “kill” and “crush” political opponents hit the internet, sparking public outrage.
European Union ambassador, Michel Arrion publicly condemned the speech during the EU briefing that took place in Abuja yesterday, NAN reports.
He called on political actors in the country to desist from using hate speeches and shun violence.
“Unfortunately, we all fear some electoral violence; we really insist that it is a duty for all players and all stakeholders of the political bodies, the government and the media to really make sure that violence is not used, that hate speech is avoided.
“I will not hide what I read today in the press. If really the speech delivered in Hausa by the Governor of Katsina (Ibrahim Shema) is real and confirmed, I would say it is the beginning of something that is a serious source of concern for us.
“He’s quoted as having said: “you should not be bothered with cockroaches of politics. What do you do when you have a cockroach in your house? and the crowd respond `you kill it, yes, you must crush them.
“Those kinds of statement are extremely dangerous and not acceptable.
“I’m not sure people using that kind of language realise what it means and I want to be really clear on that, we have to be careful and there is no good reason whatsoever to call someone a ‘cockroach.'”
Recalling the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, the EU representative said that such hate speeches instigated acts of violence that could hamper the development process of any nation.
Arrion confirmed that an EU election observer mission to Nigeria would be in the country, on a “long-term basis” from December till April to observe the election process.
He said the observation team would be sent to the six geopolitical zones in the country to monitor the credibility of the elections and also observe the post-election process.
In a separate statement, the United States expressed concerns over what it described as “violent political rhetoric” and reiterated the need for stakeholders to promote a peaceful election environment.
The statement, which was made available by the U.S. Embassy in Abuja, specifically condemned the statement made by the Governor Ibrahim Shema of Katsina State.
It said: “The threat rhetorical threat of violence undermines the democratic process and is utterly unacceptable in a democratic society.
“The United States reiterates its call upon all Nigerians to refrain from advocating, fomenting, or condoning violence before, during, or after the elections.
“Participants in the electoral process must demonstrate passion for their convictions and beliefs in a manner that shows respect for opposing differences.”
Photo Credit: NAN-PHOTO