The United Nations has urged the Federal Government of Nigeria to conduct a full investigation behind the ultimatum that was issued against the Igbo in northern Nigeria and to prosecute all the individuals responsible for the ultimatum, the creation, publication, and circulation of hate songs.
According to the United Nations experts, such incitements can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigerian ethnic communities. The United Nations made this statement known via a publication obtained from the office of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights. The statement in full reads thus;
“’An ultimatum telling Nigeria’s Igbo minority in the north of the country to flee their homes is of grave concern’, a group of United Nations human rights experts has warned. The experts also deplored a hate song and audio message being circulated on the internet and social media. The Hausa language audio message urges northern Nigerians to destroy the property of Igbo people and kill anyone who urges to leave by October 1, the same date given in the ultimatum.”
“’We are gravely concerned about this proliferation of hate messages and incitement to violence against the Igbo and their property, especially considering the previous history of such violence,’ the experts said.”
“The government must be vigilant as hate speech and incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigerian communities. The ultimatum was issued on 6 June 2017 during a press briefing by the Arewa Youth Consultative Forum in the city of Kaduna. It called for sustained and coordinated campaigns to remove the Igbo population from the Northern region.”
“The human rights experts noted that some local and national figures as well as some media representatives had publicly denounced any form of hate speech and incitement but said that other officials needed to follow suit.”
“’We are deeply concerned that some prominent local leaders and elders have not condemned the ultimatum, hate speech, and the perpetrators,’ the experts stressed.”
“We call on the government, media and civil society representatives including local and religious leaders to reject and condemn hate speech and incitement to violence unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms.”
“The experts said that any incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence had to be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted and punished. This includes the people behind the ultimatum and those responsible for creation, publication,
and circulation of hate song and audio message,” they concluded.