The Nigerian Feminist Forum (NFF) has called for an end to hate speech and negative narratives against women within Nigeria’s public space and on social media.
In a press release issued by the NFF, the group urged Nigerians to desist from promoting hate speech (both online and offline) that incite discrimination against women’s right to participate in political leadership.
One of the latest attack on social media that the group decried was an online attack on the new Deputy Governor of Kaduna State Dr. Hadiza Sabuwa Balarebe on the basis of her gender.
The group lamented that such “attack targets women, promotes discrimination against their political participation in leadership capacity and denies their right to dignity and equality before the law. In addition, its divisive nature further incites public sentiments against certain ethnic groups through its employment of hate speech. More importantly, it constitutes violence against women and denigrates their citizenship.”
The group noted that despite the rights to freedom of speech available to every Nigerians, such rights should not be used against women. It added that “Nigerians understand that while they are correct to consider the right to freedom of religion and belief sacrosanct, such beliefs are personal, and end in the public space where the rights of others begin; they therefore cannot in anyway be a determining factor on national issues, especially when the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and other legal instruments have clearly defined our directive principles.
“We call on all Nigerians to channel their energies to supporting our fledgling democracy, and in turn our elected leaders henceforth, whether male or female, to build a nation where peace and justice reigns.”