Engage youths positively to end hate speech, group urges government

To ensure the peaceful co-existence of the citizens, stakeholders have called on the Nigeria government to engage her youths positively on countering hate speech.

The stakeholders made the call in Abakaliki during a one-day youths program tagged “Review meeting of Grassroots Advocate Integrating Nigeria Youths” and held at Kazem Hotel, Abakaliki at the weekend. The programme was organized by the Development and Integrity Intervention Goal Foundation (DIG) with support from International Dialogue Centre (KAICIID).

According to the Executive Director, DIG and GAIN-Youth Project Coordinator, Mr Ajah Oliver Chima, the project was aimed at empowering and mobilizing youths on countering hate speeches for peace and national unity.

He added that the training seeks to empower youth leaders with peacebuilding skills and skills on how to use their dynamism and innovative minds to counter hate speeches, promote peace and tranquillity in their communities through civic engagement.

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He added that the training of the youth by his foundation will help to provide peacebuilding and behavioural change information in the country and also create a sustainable platform for exchanging innovative approaches, ideas and best practices among youths of different backgrounds.

Ajah also said that the training will provide the youth with useful tools/IEC materials to enhance their efforts as agents of change in their respective communities as it relates to promoting public peace.

On his part, the vice president general Nigeria Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and the member, central coordinating council of the IDFP an offshoot of KACIID in Nigeria, Dr Haru Ogbonna Ajah, noted that the high rate of hate speech is caused by hunger and anger in the country.

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He then advocated that the government should create a ministry of poverty and hunger elevation to tackle poverty in the country.

When done, according to him, it will create happiness among the citizens then hate speeches will reduce and the country will move forward, adding that “hate speech is one of those things holding the country down from all angles for national unity and development.”

He said: “This is a wonderful step taking by DIG sponsored by KAICIID because KAICIID is interested in maintaining harmony in the communities. This program is one of the fundamental ways to stop the crisis in the country. So I advocate that the government introduces a program that will address hunger for the security and welfare of the people.”

One of the participants, Loretta Nwafor urged KAICIID to continue funding the program for sustainability. She, however, promised to work effectively when the program is properly funded.

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