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Centre decries hate-speeches in Bayelsa guber poll campaign

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The Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) has decried the prevalence hate-speeches in Bayelsa gubernatorial campaigns, especially on social media, saying the ugly trend may undermine the peaceful conduct of the election.

The Co-ordinator, Countering Hate-Speech Project for CITAD, who spoke at a press conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, Hamza Ibrahim, said hate-speech was a major problem that intends to undermine peaceful co-existence among Nigeria’s diverse communities.

He said: “As the gubernatorial election scheduled for November 16, 2019, here in Bayelsa State continues to approach, we, the Centre for Information and Development, have monitored and tracked a total number of 420 hate-speeches online.

“The speech items tracked also included those done offline, particularly under election categories in Bayelsa State.

“From the data that our observatory did capture, it is obvious that hate-speeches, especially online by followers of both parties, may undermine the peaceful conduct of the election. Use of pictures of animals and derogatory symbols are continuously becoming common among members of different political parties, particularly on social media platforms.

“Our observatory has also been able to establish numerous groups and pages on Facebook bearing names of and logos of People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as individual candidates. While it is allowed to do so, we are concerned with the content the media allow in trying to sell either the parties or the candidates.”

“CITAD, therefore, appeal to both the APC and the PDP in the state to sanitise their political statements and comments.

Hamza equally urged both parties and their candidates to take an audit of the pages and groups that appear in their names on Facebook to avoid another Rwanda genocide.


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