In a nation that gives credence to ethics, citizens as a necessity scrutinize their speeches before releasing it to the public. Most especially when you are a famous celebrity or a public figure.
Recently, there have been massive reactions on the social media to a recent tweet by renowned award-winning Nigerian Afrobeat musician, Wizkid. The tweet was in reaction to a recent tweet by President Mohammadu Buhari.
Many have opined that the tone of the message is harsh and disrespectful to the number one citizen of the nation. These reactions indicate many Nigerians still nurture and value patriotism . Though, some reacted based on their belief about morality.
Recall that the #EndSars social media campaign have attracted widespread agitations, with citizens calling for personal reaction from President. The agitations were further fueled by President Buhari’s recent tweet wishing US President, Donald Trump recovery from COVID-19. Notable in this regard, is the tweet by Wizkid, presented below.
Rather than eliciting supportive reactions from fellow agitators, the tweet have attracted two divergent views. One hand are supporters, who see nothing wrong in the tone and message of the tweet. On the other hand are those who believed the message was harsh, disrespectful and highly unethical.
Some of the supporting reactions are:
@Georgeenduranc6 Replying to @wizkidayo
You-all saying @wizkidayo disrespect una president but you can call him his name is that not disrespect already
Seriously look at the other side do you like the way Nigeria is now? Them say we are the leaders of tomorrow but police they kill them, compare 2012 and 2020
He is accountable to use all. That office he occupies is a public office. N we have all right to address him in any form when we are not pleased with what’s happening you don’t expect us to hide our feeling n tell him he is doing great.. Nobody is safe the earlier we realize dis.
Below are some of the divergent reactions:
@Maywinzy Replying to @wizkidayo
Wildly stupid but nope, many idiots won’t agree. If anyone here has a father that they respect at home and see nothing wrong in what the dude did here then lots of kids gonna insult your parents in your presence
@Jibreel_hajarah Replying to @wizkidayo
Buhari no care about Us
Wizkid no care about Us….
Wizkid and Buhari just dey make noise online, na God go help us #EndSarsNow
Wizkid’s tweet vs Hate Speech
As at the time of this report, the presidency is yet to react to the tweet, which some labeled as, “harsh, disrespectful and unethical.” However, looking at Nigeria’s interpretation of hate speech and past events, Wizkid may be sued for hate speech.
Is Wizkid’s Tweet Hate Speech?
Defining hate speech from the global point of view, the 2018 United Nations Strategy and Plan of Actions on Hate Speech said, “any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour, that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of who they are, in other words, based on their religion, ethnicity, nationality, race, colour, descent, gender or other identity factor.”
According to the Nigerian government, hate speech is “any speech, broadcast or publication that denigrates a person, a group of people on the basis of their sex, religion, political beliefs or origin…”
In March 2011, it was reported that one Gambo Saeed was convicted in Katsina State for the use of insulting and defaming words against the state Governor of Katsina. Owing to this and the renewed attention on hate speech vis-a-vis recent social media regulation directive issued by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed in January 2020, and also, with the wave of negative reactions to his tweets, Wizkid many now be confronted with the risk of being prosecuted by the Federal Government for Hate Speech.