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1.1 Background of the study

Any statement, gesture, behavior, writing, or exhibition that may encourage others to violent or prejudiced action is considered hate speech. In essence, such statements degrade the dignity of others. Hate speech is defined as: (a) all dissemination of ideas based on racial or ethnic superiority or hatred, by whatever means; (b) incitement to hatred, contempt, or discrimination against members of a group on the basis of their race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin; and (c) threats or incitement to violence against members of a group on the basis of their race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin.

Hate speech, according to Neisser (1994), is “any communication (verbal, written, symbolic) that insults a racial, ethnic, or political group, whether by implying that they are inferior in some way or by signaling that they are hated or not welcome for any other reason.” Hate speech, according to Neisser, risks violent retaliation in addition to posing a bodily threat. Simply put, Kayambazinthu & Moyo (2002) saw hate speeches as verbal battles conducted against others. Indeed, owing to a lack of laws, the problem of hate speech has spread throughout Africa. Hate speech has infiltrated every corner of Africa. Hate speech has become such an essential part of today's electioneering campaigns that it is blamed for a number of election-related conflicts in Africa. Hate speech has clearly eaten deep into Nigerians' bone marrow, and it continues unabated. As the use of hate speech goes unchecked, animosity amongst the ethnic groups that make up Nigeria has grown. The main ethnic groups, Hausaa, Igbos, and Yorubas, are the targets of this hate. The Hausas are referred to as "abokis" by the Igbos and Yorubas, which means "friend" but also derogatorily "moron." Similarly, Hausas and Yorubas see Igbos as money lovers, while Hausas and Igbos regard Yorubas as cowards and saboteurs. According to a recent study by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), 70% of individuals spreading hate speech on Nigerian social media use their real names and may be tracked down for further action. In the Nigerian social media arena, the English language is once again the primary language used to disseminate hate speeches with visible material in Hausa. More so, over 65 percent of hate speech users are men, and a higher proportion of the postings include coded language that has previously been used to incite violence or injury.

Universal, indivisible, inalienable, and interdependent human rights are universal, indivisible, inalienable, and interdependent human rights. They are universal because everyone is born with the same rights, regardless of their background, nationality, place of residence, or status; indivisible because all rights are equally important and cannot be separated from one another; inalienable because all human rights are non-derogable and cannot be taken away by any political order; and interdependent because political, civil, and social rights are all interdependent. The fundamental difference between most aspects of rights and human rights is that, whereas “regular” rights apply only in some places and at certain periods, human rights apply to every human being on the planet at all times. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) says in Article 1 that "all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." The universality of human rights is a concept established to guarantee and reaffirm the importance that these rights should be given. However, this concept is not without criticism, and one of the most common arguments leveled against it is cultural relativism, which claims that universal human rights are neo-imperialistic and culturally hegemonic. The UDHR was written before the conclusion of the decolonization process, at a period when many developing countries were adopting the Declaration's principles into their domestic law as a result of western influence. As some academics have argued, the substance of the rights protected as human rights is heavily impacted by Western perspectives and therefore cannot be applied to countries with distinct cultural values, such as Asian societies. Nonetheless, after WWII, it was frequently nations from the Global South, especially those in the Global South, who advocated for international human rights that would bind all governments, and many developing countries were engaged in the creation of these rights. Some contend that cultural variety is incompatible with the concept of universality. China stated in its 1991 White Paper that “countries differ in their understanding and practice of human rights due to tremendous differences in historical background, social system, cultural traditions, and economic development.” As a result, cultural relativists argue that current human rights principles are a product of the Western liberal tradition and do not include culturally specific notions of wrong and right, rendering the claim to universality untenable. Indeed, human rights are concerned with ideals that may differ between civilizations. The importance of the community in Asian culture is incompatible with the primacy of the individual, which underpins the Western notion of human rights, according to skeptics. These arguments, on the other hand, tend to originate from governments rather than civil society, and one must be wary of their strategic intent. Individual members of communities or civil-society groups all around the world often agree with most human rights because they defend them on a personal basis. Despite the debate over cultural relativism, it is difficult to argue that many of the most basic rights, such as the right to not be arbitrarily deprived of life, the right to a fair trial, the right not to be arbitrarily detained, the right to food, and the right to safe water, are not universally shared. Human rights are universal, which implies that although states are responsible for implementing and enforcing them, they are not the source of human rights. Human rights are globally recognized, but their execution is contingent on the good will of national governments, who often argue that their traditions and cultures clash with human rights concepts. Asian Values, a 1990s philosophy, is an excellent example of this phenomena, since it has been used by leaders to fight what they see as the Western notion of human rights and to justify their actions. For example, at the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, Singapore's Foreign Minister said that "universal acceptance of the concept of human rights may be detrimental if universalism is used to reject or hide the reality of diversity." J. Chan contends that the Bangkok Declaration, adopted by Asian governments in April 1993, establishes a distinctively Asian perspective on human rights issues by reaffirming the concept of universal human rights and their importance while insisting that “they are interpreted in the context of historical, cultural, and religious peculiarities.” Despite this, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, approved at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna on June 25, 1993, says that “it is the responsibility of all States, regardless of their political, economic, or cultural systems, to promote and defend all human rights.” Furthermore, in 2001, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, which says that “no one may use cultural diversity to infringe on or restrict the extent of human rights protected by international law.” Furthermore, academics have suggested that the “Asian challenge” to the concept of universal human rights has been exaggerated as a historic conflict with the West, and that it is a simplistic dichotomy that has been misunderstood. While there seems to be agreement that actions such as torture, slavery, and genocide are unacceptable breaches of fundamental human rights, the issue of who has the power to determine what political practices nations of various cultures and socioeconomic circumstances should embrace remains unanswered.

1.2 Statement of research problem

Hate speech has become a widespread problem throughout Africa, particularly in Nigeria. owing to a lack of restrictions Hate speech has infiltrated every corner of Africa. Numerous election-related conflicts have arisen as a consequence of hate speech from one candidate to the other, which has become an essential part of today's electioneering campaign. There are confrontations of many kinds in many areas of Nigeria, and hate words permeate the Nigerian environment. However, the crackdown on individuals who use hate speech against others has been ongoing for some time, but it has not been very successful in terms of prosecuting those who use hate speech. Furthermore, when the government's legislative arm passed a law mandating that people who use hate speech be imprisoned, Nigerians were outraged because they saw the law as an opportunity to witch hunt opposition parties or anyone who speaks out against the government, as well as a violation of citizens' human rights.

1.3 Objectives of the study

The primary objective for the study is as follows:

1.     To find out the causes of the use of hate speech.

2.     To find out if in the course of witch hunting hate speech offenders, their human right is been trampled upon.

3.     Determine whether laws on hate speeches are available and adhered to.

4.     To find out if government reasons for making law against hate speech offenders is to keep them quiet against criticizing the government.

1.4 Research questions

The following research questions have been prepared for this study:

1.     What are the causes of hate speech utterances?

2.     Do witch hunting hate speech offenders, impede on their human right?

3.     Does laws on hate speeches available and adhered to?

4.     Does government reasons for making law against hate speech offender to keep them quiet against criticizing the government?

1.5 Significance of the study

The significance of this study cannot be underestimated as:

l  This study will examine implications of hate speech hunting and human right.

l  The findings of this research work will undoubtedly provide the much needed information to government organizations, NGOS, individual  and academia.

1.6 Scope of the study

This study examines implications of hate speech witch hunting and human right. hence, this study will be delimited to  in Lagos state

1.7       Research methodology

Research methodology is the specific procedures or techniques used to identify, select, process, and analyze information about a topic.

Data Collection: This research is based on secondary data. The materials for this study is sourced mostly from written works from libraries and archives which will include: text books, articles, journals and publications relevant for the study.

Data analysis: The method of data analysis for this research is basically Qualitative and descriptive in nature.

1.8 Limitations of the study

This study was constrained by a number of factors which are as follows:

 just like any other research, ranging from unavailability of needed accurate materials on the topic under study, inability to get data

Financial constraint , was faced by  the researcher ,in getting relevant materials  and  in printing and collation of questionnaires

Time factor: time factor pose another constraint since having to shuttle between writing of the research and also engaging in other academic work making it uneasy for the researcher

1.9 Operational definition of terms

Implication: the conclusion that can be drawn from something although it is not explicitly stated.

Hate speech:abusive or threatening speech or writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group

Human right: are the basic rights and freedoms that belong to every person in the world, from birth until death.

1.10    Organization of the study

Chapter one already talked about the background of the study

Chapter two will talk about causes of the use of hate speech

Chapter three will talk about witch hunting hate speech offenders, and human right.

Chapter four will talk about laws on hate speech and government reasons for making law against hate speech offenders.

Chapter five will talk about summary conclusion and recommendation.

This material content is developed to serve as a GUIDE for students to conduct academic research

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  • Reference(s):

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  • Methodology: yes available

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