By Salisu Sani-Idris
The acting Inspector-General of Police (IG-P), Mr Mohammed Adamu, has assured candidates and political parties of police neutrality and fairness throughout the general elections.
Adamu gave the assurance at a National Sensitisation Workshop on Broadcast Media Coverage of 2019 General Elections organised by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Saturday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the workshop was themed: “Fake News, Hate Speech, Vote and PVC Buying”.
Represented by Commissioner of Police Kenneth Ebrimson, the acting IG-P pledged that the police would discharge its constitutional responsibilities professionally before, during and after the elections.
He described the theme of the workshop as very topical and timely, noting that hate speech and fake news is a very dangerous phenomenon that heat up polity and create disaffection.
Besides, he observed that the incidence of vote buying had taken ugly dimension in recent times, stating that vote buying promotes bad leadership, corruption and criminality.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, urged broadcasters to abide by the Broadcasting Code and relevant clauses related to the conduct of political broadcasting to avoid sanctions.
Mohammed, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Ms Grace Isu-Gekpe, advised broadcasters to avoid being use by enemies of the state to broadcast hate speech and fake news.
He said that government had continued to show determination to stamp out hate speeches and fake news from broadcast content and other areas in the country.
According to him, government will not relent in its efforts to rid the electoral process of vote and PVC buying.
“Selling your vote or PVC is like selling your destiny and we should not allow ourselves to sale our destiny and when you do that you know what that means,” he advised.
The minister also enjoined the media to use their strategic positions to join hands with government to curb the menace of fake news, hate speech and vote buying in all ramifications.
He said that government was concern about the notorious prominence of hate speech and fake news in the country, saying “this is not good for our country and good people”.
In a paper titled “Hate Speech and Fake News are not Free Speech”, Prof. Jibo Ibrahim, urged NBC to intensify efforts to curb airing of contents that causes disaffection in the society.
Ibrahim cautioned politicians against inflammatory comment that was capable of creating violence in the country before, during and after the elections.