The National Human Rights Commission on Wednesday said Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State and a Roman Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, have provisions of the Electoral Act prohibiting the use of hate speech in the campaigns ahead of the 2015 general elections.
The commission through its chairman, Dr. Chidi Odinkalu, said the recent advertorial sponsored by Fayose and Mbaka’s comments on candidates in the forthcoming election constituted hate speeches barred by sections 95 to 102 of the Electoral Act.
Odinkalu spoke in relation to a newspaper advertorial sponsored by Fayose, on Monday, suggesting that the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Mohammadu Buhari could die in office, as was the case with three former Nigerian leaders from his Northwest geo-political zone.
He also faulted the decision by the Enugu-based Catholic priest, Reverend Ejike Mbaka to deploy his church’s pulpit as a platform to preach politically partisan messages.
“Governor Fayose’s advertorial is a hate speech. Politics in this country, and government must be humane. Gen. Murtala did not die. He was murdered. Don’t forget that Gen. Murtala has a widow; he has a son,” Odinkalu said.
He added, “Father Mbaka has violated the Electoral Act twice with his comments first in favour of President Jonathan and the second in favour of Gen. Buhari.
“Section 92 to 102 prohibits hate speeches. It prohibits the use of religious places for political campaigns.”
Odinkalu and the Executive Secretary of NHRC, Prof. Bem Angwe, spoke at the commission’s office at the event for agenda for round table meeting with media practitioners on hate speech.
The NHRC chairman added, “He (Fayose) is not an ordinary Nigerian citizen, but one who enjoys immunity against prosecution under the law. He needs proper education.”
The commission said the campaign against hate speech was part of its effort to discourage the use of hate speech by politicians and their supporters.