1.1. BACKGROUND TO STUDY
Hate Speech is a speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation. In the law of some countries, hate speech is described as speech, gesture, or conduct, writing o display which is forbidden because it incites violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected group or individual on the basis of their membership to the group or because it disparages or intimidates a protected group.
According to Matt Slick on www.carm.org/hate-speech, “Hate speech is a term often used by liberals in their attacks against Christians.” www.usaeducationguides.com further reiterates the it is “A term for speech intended to degrade, intimidate, or incite violence or prejudicial action against someone based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sexual orientation or disability. The term covers written as well as oral communication.”
Hate speech sets itself at unfettered liberty thus disparages without reason and incites without logic. Hate speech sets a person or group of persons against another. The 2016 Presidential election in the United States was a fertile ground for hate speech and up till this day, long after the election was won and lost, the American society remains bifurcated on account of the unprecedented hate speech that attended the election.
In Nigeria, Hate speech is thick in the air. First, it was PDP vs APC hate speech campaign of 2015 that birthed the current President MuhammaduBuhari government. Both parties were unrelenting in their wild orgies of hate speech campaigns including profiling of candidates and trying to incite different ethno-religious groups against each party’s candidate. The Nigerian polity has become a huge hate-field and it shows in the myriad abuses, threats, curses and tantrums that stalk the social media space. It is evident in the winner-takes-all attitude of the government especially in the area of appointments.
JideoforAdibe in his article titled Ethnicity, Hate Speech and Nation Building, states that Hate Speech is so pervasive in Nigeria that it is doubtful if there are many Nigerians that are completely free from the vice.
Nigeria has been described as an anomalous entity (Ekanola 2006), in which different ethnic groups that constitute the Nation have no shared history, culture or language. Even the physiognomy of ethnic groups is very different. Such that members of particular groups are easily identified by their physical attributes. The British colonial incursion into Africa has been credited with the existence of this nation. A fact that is constantly reiterated in discussions; off-line and online. The absence of a collective identity by ethnic groups in Nigeria worsens its experience of hate-speech.
According to Jennifer Joel(2012; Ethnopaulism and Ethno-religious Hate Speech in Nigeria), an interesting fact about Hate-speech in Nigeria is the absence of a set of aggressor and victims. In different frontiers, these roles shift depending on the part of the country an individual hail from and reside in. While the Northern manifestations of intolerance and hate-speech are often accompanied by violent acts, in the South, it is more subtle. Here, Hate-speech is manifested more in stereotyping and abusive denotation of mannerisms of other ethnic groups, particularly Northerners.
For the purpose of this study, we will focus on I.P.O.B (Indigenous People of Biafra). Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) are the original inhabitants and owners of the Lands and Communities of Biafra and Biafraland spanning centuries of tradition and historical ancient cultural ties. They are presently located in the areas called South East, some parts of South South and Middle Belt of Nigeria. They are simply under occupation, servitude and modern day slavery under the Hausa-Fulani controlled Nigerian establishment. The organisation is led by Nnamdi Kanu, a United Kingdom-based political activist who has been detained by the Nigerian government since October 2015 despite court orders for his release. Radio Biafra, also known as Voice of Biafra, is a radio station that was founded by the government of the Republic of Biafra. It is now operated by Mazi Nnamdi Kanu. It is believed to have its first transmission before the Nigeria-Biafra war, the radio station was instrumental in the broadcast of speeches and propaganda by Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu to the people of the Republic of Biafra.
Sources describe the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) as a "separatist" organization (BBC 15 Dec. 2015; International Crisis Group 4 Dec. 2015) or as a "secessionist" group (Jamestown Foundation 16 Sept. 2016; BBC 18 Dec. 2015). Sources indicate that Biafra is a region in the south east of Nigeria (International Crisis Group 4 Dec. 2015; Newsweek 7 Dec. 2015). Newsweek indicates that the region is "mainly populated by the Igbo [Ibo] ethnic group" (7 Dec. 2015). Sources indicate that from 1967 until 1970, Nigeria fought a civil war against Biafran secessionists, in which more than one million people died (BBC 18 Dec. 2015; AFP 31 May 2016). Agence France-Presse (AFP) cites Uchenna Madu, the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), another pro-Biafra group, as stating that the objective of pro-Biafran groups, including MASSOB and IPOB, is "a separate homeland for the Igbo people" (10 Apr. 2016).
1.2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The prevalence of Hate Speech by Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in Nigeria and how it has affected governance has been a major concern to the government, citizens of Nigeria and researchers as well. IPOB has been linked or associated with various hate speeches via seminars, rallies, publications and broadcasts on Radio Biafra which have at a point or the other created chaos and disoderliness, thereby leading to disunity among ethnic groups and the nation at large. Hate speech has therefore become a tool of communication for IPOB targeted at a selected part of the government.
1.3. RESEARCH QUESTIONS
(1). Who are the targets of IPOB hate speech?
(2). Who are the sources of IPOB hate speech?
(3). Which types of hate speech were presented by IPOB?
(4). What actions/deeds do the hate speeches call for?
1.4. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The first major objective of this study is to find out the targets of IPOB hate speeches. Who they are, why they are being targeted and what relationship exists between them and IPOB. This is to determine the personalities behind IPOB targets and the reason for being targete.
Another purpose of this study's to examine the sources of IPOB hate speech. To examine their authenticity and reliability. And also to find out the kind and extent of influence these sources have on IPOB hate speeches.
Also, this study intends to examine the types of hate speeches presented by IPOB and the actions or deeds that these hate speeches call for as there is always a reason behind every action.
1.5. SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study is restricted to selected broadcasts by IPOB. The broadcasts will be selected randomly from Radio Biafra, market rallies, seminars and publications.
1.6. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study would be of immense importance to the government and the general public as it would reveal how hate speeches are being framed by IPOB and the reasons behind it. The study would also be of immense importance to students, researchers and scholars who are interested in the subject matter.
1.7. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
Financial constraints- Insufficient fund was a major constraint to sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraints- Due to simultaneously engaging in this study with other academic work, this consequently cut down on the time devoted for the research work.
Tribalism- Being a Yoruba, it was a bit difficult to get favourable responses from Igbo respondents as they felt the research topic was antagonistic to the Igbo race.
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