Yemi Osinbajo, Acting President of Nigeria has warned about the potency of careless words to start wars that are often impossible to end.
He said this in relation to the quit notice issued to Igbos leaving in the north by Northern youths.
While speaking to south-east governors and leaders from the region at a meeting which held on Wednesday at the presidential villa, Abuja, Osinbajo explained that the federal government will be taking hate speeches seriously as he asked the Igbos to resist the urge to retaliate.
“I firmly believe that we ought to address these agitations and proclamations urgently and decisively. Burying our heads in the sand and expecting the storm to blow over of their own accord is not an option,” he said.
“But equally not reasonable is falling for the temptation for tit-for-tat. It has never worked or moved us closer to a solution or resolution.
“One thing is clear – violence and war are terrible things. They are easy to start but near impossible to end.
“It is also clear that wars sometimes start, not with bullets, but with words. Hateful, incendiary speech, opening floodgates of blood. The tongue, like the pen, is often mightier than the sword – because it is what pushes the sword into action. When we throw words like stones in a marketplace we do not know who or what it will hit.
“Knowing this, under no conditions whatsoever should we tolerate or excuse or justify hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, especially where such is illegal. Let me of course acknowledge that as part of living together in this space called Nigeria, misunderstandings and frustrations are inevitable. Because resources are limited there will always be a striving to get what is perceived as the best seat at the table.
“Let there be no doubt whatsoever of the resolve of government to ensure that no one will be allowed to get away with making speeches that can cause division or violence. We will take very seriously any attempts to cause violence or to disrupt the peace of Nigeria. And we will not tolerate such.”