Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday said that the Federal Government had drawn a line on hate speech and would treat it as an act of terrorism.
“The Federal Government has drawn a line on hate speech,” he said while addressing a Security Summit organized by the National Economic Council, NEC, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
“Hate speech is a species 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 on hate speech, the Terrorism Act 2011, defines hate speech amongst other definitions, as an act deliberately done with malice and which may seriously harm or damage a country or seriously intimidate a population.
“The intimidation of a population by words or speech is an act of terrorism and this government intends to take this matter seriously.
“As I said we have 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,” he revealed.
Mr Osinbajo urged business, religious and political leaders to condemn hate speech in strongest terms especially when such speech came from people of their faith, tribe or group.
He stated that silence on such speeches could only be seen as an endorsement.
He noted that throughout history promotion of hate speeches succeeded in achieving their barbarous ends by silencing influential voices from the aggressor communities.
The acting president said when leaders in communities that spoke in such a manner to play dissension were made to be quite it constituted a great disservice to the unity of the nation.
Mr Osinbajo reaffirmed that the primary aim of the government was to secure the lives and property of citizens, adding that the administration would not relent in achieving that vision.
He observed that to tackle insecurity there was the need to fight poverty by all tiers of government.
The Inspector General of Police, he said, has been directed to constitute a community-policing program to ensure inclusion of all communities in creative ways towards improving security in the country.
The friction between the Federal and State government that has led to the low fulfillment of obligations to people, adding that the administration continues to exhibit transparency in dealing with the states to enable good governance, he said.