A coalition group under the ages of Community of Practice Against Mass Atrocities, wants the Federal Government to secure vulnerable communities from attack before, during and after the 2023 elections.
At a dialogue session organised by Global Right Nigeria in Abuja, the group said the call was imperative as a result of several reports of attack on some innocent Nigerians, destruction of INEC facilities, staff, activities of kidnappers and other election related atrocities in the country.
The group feared that insecurity may make it impossible to safely organise elections in up to 686 wards across the country, in addition to proliferation of small arms and light weapons which could also increase the possibility of deadly violence.
According to them, the presidential panel which investigated most of the crisis, headed by Sheikh Ahmed Lemu, highlighted inflammatory campaign, ulterances by politicians and their supporters, reinforced by diverse hate speeches as major cause of violence.
“We call on Nigerians to join in being vanguards of our civic space, especially social and broadcast media, and report observed incidents of hate speech, record of fake news as well as other forms of incitement to electoral violence to the appropriate authorities”.
The Team Lead for Srarina initiative for Peace, Justice and Development, Mr Redzie Jugo, said Nigeria Justice institutions are key to addressing the challenges, noting that impunity had been the fertile ground upon which hate speech, fake news and other forms of electoral atrocities flourished.
Executive Director Global Rights, Ms Abiodun Baiyewu, maintained that Nigeria is suffering from multidimensional forms of violence, and urged citizens to support the move against hate speeches and campaign of calumny during the elections for peaceful and credible polls.
Contributing, the Deputy Director Public Enlightenment and Mass Mobilisation NOA, Theresa Maduekwe, who stressed that the agency had been doing alot of sensitization on youths against hate speech and fake news, called for the partnership of CSOs to achieve greater success.
Some participants at the event advised that government should make a definition of hate speech and penalty against defaulters.
They also advised that the judicial institutions be allowed to work with out interference.
The Coalition group are; African Initiative For Peace, advocacy and Advancement, Sensor Empowerment Foundation and Alliance For Africa among others.
Reporting by Julian Osamoto; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade