The Presidency on Thursday said bishops, pastors and imans spewing hatred from the pulpit should be brought to the genocide museum in Rwanda to see what hatred caused that nation.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in his write up said President Muhammadu Buhari, on the sideline of the 26th edition of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), visited the museum where almost a million Tutsis were killed in a genocide by the Hutus because of hatred.
“We have always warned about hate speech that is rife in our own country, Nigeria. You hear it from so-called bishops, imams, talk show hosts, phone-in programs on radio and television, anywhere, and everywhere.
“I had written before that if Nigeria dies, it is hatred that killed her. And our pastors would not be innocent. Nor the imams, and everyone that trades in hateful language against government and other ethnic groups.
”Those things pile up continuously, till it boils over, and cascades on an entire country. The heinous crimes we see in the land today cannot be entirely divorced from hateful and incendiary speeches,” he said.
Adesina added: “Let us carry those bishops and pastors who spew hatred from the pulpit, and bring them to the genocide museum. And the imams too.
“Maybe they will ‘lend themselves some brain.’ And the TV and radio hosts, who make snide, hateful remarks, and allow their guests to do the same. That was the same road Rwanda trod, and genocide was unleashed on the land.
“If Nigeria dies, whether now or in the future, hatred killed her. How can a people go about, bearing giant-sized grudges against their country, its leadership, against one another, and expect that country to live in peace and prosperity? It won’t happen. “When we don’t know who to hate, we hate ourselves,” observed a writer.
“The EndSARS campaign began as an agitation against police brutality, in which there was unanimity of purpose. And suddenly, it became a vehicle of hate. Against leadership, against national cohesion, an opportunity to settle political scores, and equally prepare for power grab in 2023. Hatred came into the mix.
“The agitation by youths against injustice and oppression suddenly took on a variegated nature. Separatists came under the umbrella, and began to advance their cause, working for the dismemberment of the country. Those beaten black and blue in 2015 and 2019 elections also crept in, and asked for pound of flesh, while also plotting for a return to power in 2023.”
“The venom, which peaceful protests eventually became, can only be summed up by one word. Hatred. How can you begin to club people to death, in different parts of the country? How can you set fire to national assets and institutions, storm prisons and release prisoners into society, all in the name of peaceful protests? No, peace had fled through the window, and hatred was fully in control.”
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Adesina stated that there are many factors and agencies of hatred in Nigeria, and that until “we learn to purge ourselves, the country may never move beyond where it has been pirouetting and gyrating for six decades. Like the macabre dance, it has been one step forward and two steps backwards.
“Hatred is evinced from many quarters for Nigeria, and for its government and people at any given time. It comes from churches, mosques, professional activists and agitators, interest groups, some elements in the media, so-called analysts who never see anything good, and so on and so forth.
“When things boil over in graphic demonstration of hatred, it is a culmination of negative sentiments and tendencies. They come in persistent negative postings on social media, which generate and stimulate hate. From hateful messages from the pulpit, as if that was the message of love Jesus Christ handed over to his followers.
“From unduly critical messages during jumat services. From radio and television programs, in which bile is spewed. From talkshows which become a harangue of government, newspaper articles and columns tailored to instigate and generate dissent, and the like.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear,” said Martin Luther King, Jr. But not for some Nigerians who have decided to hate their own country. They perpetually stoke the embers of malice, discord and discontent. They bear a heavy burden, which they carry around everywhere, being grumpy, caustic and perpetually driven by ill will.
“Hatred is a poor prop for anyone to lean on. But to those malicious souls, the more malice they generate for their country, the better they feel. They may carry fancy religious titles, or parade as activists, analysts or newspaper columnists, but what they are is really simple. Hate mongers, and one day, they may ensure that Nigeria dies. Not of old age or other natural causes, but of hatred.”