The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decried the rise in the use of hate speech across the country by politicians seeking political patronage.
This, the Deputy Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, Fatimah Agwai Mohammed said in a statement on Friday has led to ethnic and religious sentiments being used to create division, fear, and hatred among different groups.
The statement said the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN) stated this in Abuja ahead of the Gubernatorial and State Assembly polls slated for March 18.
Ojukwu lamented that this menace has crept into places of worship where religious leaders have joined the unholy enterprise of spreading hate speeches.
The NHRC boss noted that the use and misuse of social media to spread ethnic and religious hate-laced messages is also worrisome, with far-reaching and complex implications, adding that the incidents can lead to violence and tension between different religious and ethnic groups, disrupt social, cultural, and religious harmony and affect rights to associate, assemble, freedom of movement, and the right to live in any part of the country.
He also warned that this situation can lead to a breakdown of law and order, increasing vulnerabilities and risks, including death, internal displacements, kidnapping, drug use, recruitment into terrorist activities and other forms of human rights and humanitarian concerns.
Ojukwu called on the government to take all steps to reaffirm its commitment to the secular nature of the Nigerian State under section 10 of the Constitution.
The Chief Human Rights officer of Nigeria urged all persons involved to take urgent steps to stop these divisive tendencies as the Commission is concerned about the impact this can have on the 2023 General elections and beyond
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