By Iorwuese Anaana
The Nigerian League of Veteran Journalists has condemned the current space of hate speeches that has taken over Nigeria’s public space.
In a press released signed by its National President General, Otunba Eddie Aderinokun, the group said, the most worrisome to the league is the persistent demand for secession by pro Biafra groups and the evacuation order issued against Igbo’s resident in the northern part of Nigeria.
They recall that what is happening today is reminiscent of the drum beats of war that preceded that tragic civil war of 1967.
According to them: “As journalists who were on duty as reporters and editors during the Nigerian civil war, we are not happy to witness our country going down the same road to self-destruction. We reported the civil war to the world and we feel it is our duty to warn those who take our country down that dangerous path that they should halt the current exchange of hate speech.”
The veterans said that Nigeria is today the country with the biggest black population in the world and that the dismemberment of the country will be a disgrace to the black race and a confirmation of the stereotype that black men are incapable of governing themselves as it will also trigger a chain of reactions all over Africa with dire consequences on the economic emancipation of the people of the continent.
The group believe that as the country with the biggest economy in Africa, effort should be made to consolidate the growth to economic prosperity and not fighting wars that will retard the progress made so far.
The league recommends the Acting President Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for taking immediate steps to halt the slippery slide to secession by holding talks with the relevant elders of the feuding youths. They however notes with great concern what appears to be an abdication of responsibility by elders in all segments of our society and call on elders to rein in the restless youths and stop them from leading us to an avoidable civil war.
The veterans believe in the democratic rights of Nigerians to free speech but cautions that such freedom carries with it great responsibility. They also call on managers of media houses to exercise caution in giving space to those who fan embers of discord in our society as the outbreak of war in Nigeria will adversely affect media practice in the country. They call on media practitioners to be conscious of the fact that they cannot practice journalism in a vacuum and that they need a country to practice their chosen profession.