Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has urged the Federal Government to go beyond criminalizing hate speech and encourage reconciliation and national love.
In a series of tweets on Saturday morning, Atiku, a top chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) expressed support for the declaration on Friday by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo that hate speech would henceforth be treated as an act of terrorism.
He, however, added that the government must move beyond the stance and encourage love among Nigerians.
Atiku tweeted: “It is commendable that FG has classified hate speech as an act of terrorism in line with the Terrorism Act 2011.
“For emphasis, the recent hate declarations from various groups in our country against citizens shows that hate speech is not far from us.
“Even more important than criminalizing hate speech, we must go back to reconciliation and growing our economy in love. We’ve seen in Nigeria and other countries how hate speech has led to violent crimes. We cannot sit and wait for situations to get worse.”
Atiku, a veteran aspirant for the office of President, is believed to be strongly interested in contesting for the office in 2019.