Hate speech

Gov. Nasiru El-Rufai of Kaduna State on Wednesday said hate speech and fake news were the biggest threat to national security and called for collective action to tackle them.

The governor made the observation when he received Maj._Gen. Anthony Alolagbe, the new Commander, Operation Safe Haven, a special task force established in 2010 in Plateau, who paid him a courtesy visit in Kaduna.

“There is need to curtail the emerging trend of using social media to create crisis in the country.

“I think collectively we have to fight it and discourage those behind it by arresting and prosecuting them,’’ he said.

El-Rufai disclosed that the social media had been used to incite people to violence in the state, but warned that the government would not condone that anymore.

“In this state, we will not allow anyone engage in propagation of hate speech and fake news; there is provision in the penal code in Kaduna state that deals with that.’’

He however expressed satisfaction that Nigerians were “becoming more aware of the dangers hate speech, fake news and the abuses on social media pose to the peace, unity and stability of this country.’’

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El-Rufai told the commander that his administration was putting in place measures to promote social justice, and was working closely with all security agencies to sustain peace in the state.

“There are still challenges, but with the intervention of army and police it has been curtailed to some extent,” he said, adding that security agencies were doing their best to address them.

Earlier, Alolagbe explained that the operation’s major duty was to protect all civilians in  Southern Kaduna and Plateau, especially those living along the boundaries of the two states.

“We have deployed our security and patrol teams to ensure free movement of people carrying out lawful activities, and we have been able to curtail cross boarder banditry,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the mandate of Operation Safe Haven was extended to cover southern Kaduna in July 2017 after clashes there.