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Silence is Endorsement – Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech

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The Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has spoken on the recent increase in hate speech in the country, saying the Federal Government has drawn a line.

Osinbajo said this in a series of tweets on Twitter. He said hate speech is a type of terrorism, as stated in the Terrorism Prevention Act 2011.

The Acting President added that the tweets are part of his opening remarks at the National Economic Council (NEC) retreat on National Security going on with State Governors at the Presidential Villa.

See the tweets below:

Silence is Endorsement - Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech - BellaNaija Silence is Endorsement - Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech - BellaNaija Silence is Endorsement - Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech - BellaNaija Silence is Endorsement - Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech - BellaNaija Silence is Endorsement - Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech - BellaNaija Silence is Endorsement - Osinbajo speaks on Hate Speech - BellaNaija

Read the full transcript of his speech below:

I am delighted to welcome you to this special session of the National Economic Council, focusing on Security. As you’re all aware, the Buhari administration came into office on a vision that covered three key areas: Security, the Economy and the fight against Corruption.

All three issues are closely linked, of course. Without guaranteeing security, we will struggle to attract the kind of investments, domestic or foreign, needed to create jobs and prosperity for our people. And when those jobs are hard to find and keep, our people will naturally be more susceptible to the lure of criminal activity. Which means that governments that are serious about fighting crime ought to be extremely serious about fighting poverty.

And I take the point that the Chairman of the Governors’ forum made about investments in agriculture, although the N23 billion investment is one aspect of agriculture which is the Anchor Borrower’s Programme. Our total investment is well over five times that. If you look at all the other areas in which we are investing in agriculture, and that excludes what the States are also investing in agriculture. So I think that substantial effort is being made, still not enough but certainly more than N23 billion.

Corruption and Security are also interconnected. We are all witnesses to how, only a few years ago, much of North Eastern Nigeria was at risk to falling completely into the hands of Boko Haram, largely because widespread corruption in the military had robbed our troops of the resources and morale needed to fight and defeat the terrorists.

Regarding this all-important issue of security in Nigeria, we all know what the issues are. In our lives as politicians and as elites; in our security meetings and confidential briefings, in news reports and editorials in the media, we are all daily confronted by the disturbing reality of Nigeria’s security situation.

Now I think is the time to implement our thinking and our talking; to add action to our analysis. And this action must be bold, ambitious, urgent – and, and very importantly – innovative. It was Albert Einstein who said, and I quote, that “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created the problems in the first place.”

This is a challenge to all of us, to confront these matters with utmost seriousness. Because the problems we face as a nation are not static, but instead continue to evolve, our thinking and our solutions for them must also be equally dynamic, to take into account the peculiar realities of the 21st century. I have spoken at a number of recent fora about how technology and the internet have altered the nature of conflict and war in contemporary times, enabling and amplifying the efforts and impact of terrorists, insurgents, warmongers, secessionists, and peddlers of hate speech.

Against this backdrop, the question we should be asking ourselves, as Governments, especially as Chief Security Officers in our States, as Law Enforcement Agents, is: how can we take advantage of these same tools and technology to stay permanently ahead of those who seek to wield them to create mischief, and cause terror, fear and bloodshed?

These are the conversations that we should be having, and at the highest levels of government no less. My expectation is that we will, at this forum, focus on solutions, instead of rehashing the problems.

But let me just reiterate an important fact, one of the reasons why the National Economic Council is so important is because the framers of our Constitution recognise that that the Federal Government alone cannot solve Nigeria’s security or economic challenges. Security is a collective enterprise, requiring the harmonization of efforts from all three tiers and branches of Government, and from the private sector, civil society and indeed the general public as well.

Yesterday, we took an important step in incorporating all of our society into this security issue and into the fight against insecurity in our country. Pursuant to our Constitution, I issued a directive to the Inspector General of Police to constitute the Community Policing Programme. As you know the Community Policing Programme is one that the Police itself had developed over the years.

But by this directive, we expect that the community Policing Programme will take root and take effect and all of our Police formations across the country will engage their communities in the very creative ways the Police themselves have prescribed in the Community Policing programme.

We expect that this will be a fundamental change in the way that policing is carried out in our country and that it will yield the kinds of results that we expect.

The Buhari administration has already set a pattern of engagement and collaboration with Governors, and we are committed to maintaining this atmosphere of frank engagement.

You are aware that this was not always the case; and prior to this administration, the National Economic Council had not exactly fulfilled its obligations as an economic council because of the unending series of conflicts between the Federal and State Governments over very many issues.

But we are determined to do things the right way, to be transparent in our dealings with you, to respect your views, regardless of partisan or ideological affiliations, and to join hands with you to create positive change in the lives of all our people.

Please permit me a comment on hate speech. The Federal Government has today drawn the line on hate speech. Hate speech is a specie of terrorism. Terrorism as it is defined popularly is the unlawful use of violence or intimidation against individuals or groups especially for political ends. The law, that is the Terrorism (Prevention) Act 2011 (as amended), defines terrorism as inter Alia, an act which deliberately done with malice which may seriously harm or damage a country or seriously intimidate a population.

The intimidation of a population by words, by speech is an act of terrorism and this government intends to take this matter very seriously. As I have said, we’ve drawn a line against hate speech, it will not be tolerated, it will be taken as an act of terrorism and all of the consequences will follow it.

I call on all business, religious and political leaders, whatever your political leaning, your religion or tribe or faith to condemn in the strongest possible terms at all times, hate speech.

Speech that promotes violence against an individual or group, especially when such comes from people of your own faith, tribe or group, your silence in such situations can only be seen as an endorsement.

Hate speech, and the promotion of the same throughout history from Nazi Germany and the extermination of Jews to the Rwandan genocide succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by the silence of influential, voices from the aggressor communities.

When leaders in communities that speak in such a manner as to create dissension or to intimidate a population are quiet, they do a great disservice to our unity and nation.

This is why I urge all of our political leaders, religious leaders, business leaders and all of those who truly want a united country and a country where there will be peace and security, to ensure that we do not tolerate by our silence the hate speech that we hear every day in our community.

In closing, let me remind you that our Constitution states that the primary purpose of government shall be the security and welfare of the people. And as President Buhari likes to say: “you cannot administer a country you have not secured.”

We will not relent in our vision to ensure a secure country, in which all citizens can confidently aspire to achieve their dreams and ambitions. I am confident that today will mark an important milestone in the achieving that vision.

I thank you very much for listening.

14 Comments

  1. Mannie

    August 17, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    This is messed up! These politicians are looking for ways to curb o freedom of speech. The truth is that, the so called “hate speech” is just fancy words for “things we politicians don’t want to hear the common folk say”. Whatever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never break me”?

    • mami

      August 17, 2017 at 1:53 pm

      if it is targeted at a country, population, group of people….not necessarily a politician…They are trying to curb the biafra mess that is gradually brewing, simmering underneath….

  2. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    August 17, 2017 at 1:21 pm

    When the hate speech is directed at gay people, it’s religious speech and allowed! Mscheeeeew! *pack one corner biko*

    • ogeAdiro

      August 17, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Chukwu gozie gi!

  3. Peyton

    August 17, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Lol. We are always in denial. Sir people attacked Charly Boy for protesting. That’s worse than hate speech that’s criminal. Have you condemned them? Has the police arrested anyone?

  4. Brendaalfred

    August 17, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Ds present Govt did same thru paid agents to d immediate past Govt. It was even worse than what is happening now., strike , insults, propaganda, protests ,etc, so why complain now that u are at d receiving end?

  5. Osinbajo

    August 17, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Talk, talk, talk ….
    Why does Osinbajo always talk like a political analyst invited on Channels Tv to give his opinion? Why that sense of detachment in his posture? Why does he sound handicapped? And we call him the acting president? Why does he sound so weak, superficial and callous on matters that portend grave danger to the security of lives and property of Nigerians . Is that the instruction contained in the script given to him as the ‘coordinator’ while the boss takes pictures in London?
    A demonic song calling for the killing of all members of an ethnic group is circulating in the north and the government pretends as though they heard nothing about it. It has not been banned and the loudmouth government has not released any statement concerning such divisive and murderous entertainment. But when the regular entertainers release harmless songs they are banned. They are also restricted on where to shoot music videos.
    Now Osinbajo is dishing out tweets on hate speech and giving us notice it will be part of his other speech to be delivered soon. This man must really think his cowardly, hypocritical speeches mean a lot to Nigerians.
    Nigeria is falling apart before our eyes and the government is still sleepwalking.

  6. BLESSED BEYOND MEASURE

    August 17, 2017 at 4:46 pm

    Thanks Mr Ac President.NAIRALAND forum should be closed down and the owner @seunosewa arrested ASAP.For anybody who cared to know,just visit the site and see the vile and stink comments that is been encouraged everyday on every post just to generate plenty comment for the blog.#STOPHATE#CHOOSELOVE

    • Nuna

      August 18, 2017 at 8:21 am

      I dont even bother with nairaland again. The hate is just too much. So terrible and disgusting. Stopped going there last year and I actually dont miss it.

  7. NG

    August 17, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    America and Nigeria are so similar now. The Republicans are incensed with so-called liberal attack on Trump, forgetting they sowed the seed of the intolerance and hate speech on ground now when they viciously targeted Obama. The very same thing APC bullies did with the past PDP government.

    Besides, when “saint” Buhari was speaking and conducting state affairs in the most divisive manner ever seen in this land, where was Osinbajo and his base? Who is a slave in Nigeria to be treated like thrash and second hand citizen? Ndigbo? You know that can never be.

    What do you reap when you sow the wind? With respect, Please address the root of the problem Mr VP.

  8. WORKGIRL

    August 17, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    You should direct this to your party members who are specialist in making hate speeches eg LIE LIE Mohammed, Lauretta Onochie, Garba Shehu, Femi Adeshina, Rotimi Amaechi (who made more hate speeches against GEJ than this fool) in fact the whole of APC have doctorate degree in making hate speeches, including that idiot who said he would kill 200 people if buhari dies… you this VP I thought you said you”re a christian mtcheewww!! Foolish government

  9. Bowl

    August 17, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    They are planning to muzzle us. Oppressors !

  10. gurl_wendy

    August 17, 2017 at 11:47 pm

    Planning to muzzle who? Are we blind to the hate speeches , hate songs and videos making waves trying to spur one tribe against the other, that’s how hutus and tutsis started killing each other, hate filled speeches, let’s not take this out of context and miss the meaning of his message, they are not trying to muzzle anyone, nobody is trying to take away your freedom of speech except if you’re filled with hate and release hate filled incendiary speeches targeted at certain tribes.

  11. Momotaro

    August 18, 2017 at 7:23 am

    It seems these phools have forgotten “the baboons shall be soaked in blood”. If you want to talk about hate speech, start with your President whose words have led to the deaths of many people in the past. You may have forgotten but I never will. His silence on the Fulani killing sprees across Nigeria is endorsement. Not once has he condemned their acts. Remove the log out of your own eye Osibajo.

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