By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
Acting President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday in Abuja described hate speech as a kind of terrorism which employs violence and intimidation to achieve certain political objectives.
Osinbajo made this comment while addressing governors at the opening of the National Economic Council (NEC) retreat at the old Baquet Hall of the Presidential Villa.
He recalled how the Terrorism Act 2011 defined hate speech as an act done with malice which has the capacity not only to harm a country but also intimidate the population.
Reiterating that hate speech would not be condoned but rather taken as an act of terrorism which he said would also be met with the punishment for terrorist acts, the acting president appealed to religious, business and political leaders irrespective of their political, ethnic or religious backgrounds to condemn hate speech in strong terms even if it emanates from their background.
He also recalled how hate speech led to the crisis in Nazi Germany, extermination of Jews, monumental genocide in Rwanda and silenced influential voices, warning that if leaders fail to speak up against terrorism, it would amount to disservice to the unity of the country.