Group Seeks Politicians’ Restraint on Hate Speeches, Incitement

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Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt

The coalition of youth and civil society groups has called on the federal government to continually advise public office holders on the need for restraint on utterances capable of causing public disorder, hatred and disaffection among Nigerians.

The call was made yesterday in Port Harcourt by members of Forward Rivers Movement, a coalition of more than 200 youth groups including non-governmental organisations in Rivers state.

The group stated that members were disturbed by utterances by the Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Dakuku Peterside, against Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers which they described as inciting.

The group, which made members’ views known through its Media Director, Mr. Charles Jumbo, stated membership’s feeling that NIMASA DG pitched River State workers against the state administration by alleging in a local broadcast media that Wike hated and had no regards for Rivers’ work force.

Dakuku had in a news programme aired on Rhythm FM last Tuesday alleged that the governor hated workers and had no regards for them and the people.

The NIMASA boss had also alleged in the news broadcast on the radio that Wike hated Rivers civil servants with passion to the extent that the governor could not pay their basic salaries.

Jumbo also told journalists in Port Harcourt that Dakuku’s comments in the broadcast was “highly inciting”.
According to Jumbo, the NIMASA DG’s statement was capable of causing breakdown of law and order that can affect Rivers as treasure base of Nigeria and the nation in general.

“It is clear today everyone today that allocation from the centre has drastically crashed leading to high reduction of fund to our state. As a public officer he knows this fact but decided to ignor the truth. Great leaders face reality, not run away from it. This is why his comments is highly inciting.

“This why we support the position that the Justice Omereji-led Panel report be implemented so that they can see how clean Dakuku Peterside will be” Jumbo said.

He also stated that there should be no sacred cow on the federal government’s stand on unguarded speeches.

Jumbo said the group, which met in Port Harcourt to issue a joint statement on Dakuku’s comments on radio, included, civil society, community- and faith-based organisations in the state.