IPCR Cautions Against Provocative Statements, Misuse Of Social Media

The Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (IPCR), the apex research agency and think-tank of the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN), on peace, conflict prevention, and management is concerned about the ugly and reprehensible trend of inciting preaching, hate speech and irresponsible use of the social media going on in the country.
The IPCR is worried about the negative potential which these practices portend for the peace, social cohesion and good governance of our great country. The Institute is particularly disturbed that religion as an important institution and age-long guarantor of peace is being deployed by some preachers to undermine the peace and stability of the country.
This is a total negation of the sacred books, which propagate peace and good neighbourliness. The Institute is urging Nigerians to resent actions and utterances that could jeopardize the demonstrated commitment of the Federal Government to secure the lives and properties of the citizenry. While government continues to do everything to ensure citizens’ security, winning the peace in our communities remains a collective responsibility of all Nigerians.
The Institute has observed with deep regret the inciting sermons by some preachers in places of worship across the country. The emerging phenomenon of irresponsible preaching and unwarranted utterances by some clerics is one which every responsible Nigerian must work hard to discourage. History has shown that the spinning of hate speeches by people who should be leaders and custodians of peace in the society is a recipe for social catastrophe that does no one good.

All religions, and especially Christianity and Islam are founded on the principles of peace, love and charity. Therefore, any preacher who incites his or her congregation to violence negates the principles of religion. Religion emphasizes peace, love, tolerance and respect for the sanctity of human lives. The Institute appeals to all leaders, temporal and spiritual, to be cautious in their pronouncements at all times.

In exercising our constitutional rights to the freedom of speech we all owe the larger society the duty of restraint by abhorring the use of inflammatory expressions capable of undermining public safety and the security of lives and properties. The Institute enjoins Nigerians to appreciate the significant progress made by the Government despite being confronted with challenges associated with insurgency, terrorism and other conflict disorders. The economic recession, notwithstanding, the Federal Government continues to confront insurgency and the resultant humanitarian crisis in the Northeast with uncommon courage and determination. The IPCR commends the Nigerian Armed Forces and other security agencies for their commitment and sacrifices, which led to the restoration of the territorial integrity of the country.

While acknowledging the positive role of the media in sustaining democracy in Nigeria, the Institute advises against the publication of provocative information capable of fuelling centrifugal tendencies in the society. IPCR thus calls for the media to embrace the constructive path of peace journalism and conflict-sensitive reportage. It also advises social media practitioners and users to promote harmonious living and positive mobilization of the masses. Consequently, IPCR calls on all Nigerians to think and act responsibly in order to strengthen and consolidate the peaceful relations in communities across the country. It is only under conditions of Peace and tranquillity that the economy can grow jobs for the teeming youths of Nigeria for sustainable development.


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