Survey warns hate speech, drug abuse may trigger violence in 2019
A survey conducted by CLEEN Foundation in 12 states across three geo-political zones, has revealed that hate speech is leading in factors that could cause electoral violence in 2019.
In the report, which was released yesterday in Abuja, 84 per cent of respondents affirmed hate speech, while 83 per cent believed that the use of hard drugs could trigger violence in the focal states.
The report added that indecent media reports, and other social vices could also be flashpoints.
According to the survey, Kaduna State had the highest percentage among 60 per cent of those who strongly agree that hate speech could precipitate electoral violence.
Ekiti followed with 57 percent, Rivers, 52 per cent, Akwa Ibom, 47per cent, and Abia state, 41per cent.
The survey further showed that Plateau State had the highest; with 63 per cent of respondents who agreeing that hate speech could cause violence during the elections.
Adamawa followed it with 58 per cent, Osun, 54 per cent, while Borno had 49 per cent affirmation, among others.
The survey also revealed that 87 per cent of respondents believed that the media have very high likelihood of triggering electoral violence through partisanship, favouritism and partiality in their reportage.
While 86 per cent said the media could trigger violence through broadcast and publishing of hatred, 85 per cent held that this could be worsened by sectionalism and provocation.
Also, 91 per cent of respondents believed that partiality of security agents would be another factor, even as aggressive and excessive use of force, or inactions could ignite violence.
However, the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, said in his reaction that the police would collaborate with other security agents to ensure violence-free polls in 2019.
A Superintendent of Police, Nwafor Earnest, represented the IGP at the unveiling.
A political expert from the University of Nigeria, Freedom Onuoha, stressed the need for effective monitoring of the media to ensure a balanced, responsible and ethically sensitive reporting.
He advocated the sharing of information to avoid the instigation of violence before, during and after election.
Onuoha called on the relevant authorities to ensure impartial regulation of the social media to tackle inflammatory rhetoric, hate speech, and disinformation that could trigger electoral violence.