The Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has appealed to “authors of hate speech and fake news to rewind, soften up and show remorse,” arguing that “deradicalization is necessary in order to douse tension in the country and avoid nationwide pogrom.
In a statement on Monday by its director, Ishaq Akintola, MURIC “fingered prominent pastors and opposition politicians among those behind hate speech”.
The statement read:
“The world holds its breath as Nigeria passes through difficult times. Hate speeches and fake news fly around at the speed of light. Already, fiery, combustible and inflammatory speeches have led to the killing of Muslims and Northerners in some parts of the South East and South West.
“Many Muslims of Igbo extraction have fled their homes to safer places after receiving death threats from fellow Igbos for daring to convert to Islam. Several mosques located in the South East have been set on fire. Yet all these began after the commencement of hate speech and fake news just about four years ago.
“Unfortunately, the Federal Government’s (FG) attempt to bring the situation under control was rebuffed by those behind the plot to destabilize Nigeria. They killed the hate speech bill and gave unbridled license to the spread of fake news. Among the most active authors of hate speech were prominent pastors and opposition politicians and the latter played a major role in the rejection of the hate speech bill in the last National Assembly (NASS). Besides, some media houses and irresponsible social media activists were behind the spread of fake news.
“We observe that the present state of insecurity in the country is due mainly to abject poverty in the North and hate speeches in the South. MURIC is closely monitoring the situation particularly regarding hate speeches and fake news. Our archives are full of audio and video clips of hate speeches of popular pastors and prominent politicians. Every single evidence has been syndicated with instructions to act on them at the appropriate time.
“This will ensure that all those who have incited their people against others will be made to pay for their crimes unless they retrace their steps. It is not too late to do that. Authors of hate speech know themselves because the audio and video clips went viral and they also received copies. We therefore advise these people to begin a process of deradicalisation. It is time to rewind, soften up and show remorse. Load your sermons and speeches with messages of love for humanity and the need for Nigerians to forgive one another.”