The President has cautioned promoters of hate speech in the country to desist from such actions or get ready to face the consequences.
President Muhammadu Buhari gave the warning on Tuesday in his Independence Day speech to the nation.
Noting that his administration recognises the freedom of expression of the citizens, he insisted that they would resist the abuse of such rights, especially through social media.
The President said, “Our attention is increasingly being focused on cyber-crimes and the abuse of technology through hate speech and other divisive material being propagated on social media.
“Whilst we uphold the constitutional rights of our people to freedom of expression and association, where the purported exercise of these rights infringes on the rights of other citizens or threatens to undermine our National Security, we will take firm and decisive action.”
President Buhari, therefore, called on Nigerians to exercise restraint, tolerance and mutual respect in airing their grievances and frustrations.
According to him, the ongoing national discourse on various political and religious issues is healthy and welcome.
The President, however, stressed the need to remember the lessons of the past – lessons that are most relevant on a day such as this.
He added, “The path of hatred and distrust only leads to hostility and destruction.
“I believe that the vast majority of Nigerians would rather tread the path of peace and prosperity, as we continue to uphold and cherish our unity.”
President Buhari believes good governance and economic development cannot be sustained without an enabling environment of peace and security.
In the last four years, he noted that his administration has combatted the terrorist scourge of Boko Haram.
The country, according to him, owes a debt of gratitude to the gallant men and women in arms, through whose efforts recent successes were recorded.
The President also thanked Nigeria’s neighbours and allies – within the region and across the world – who have supported the country in tackling its security challenges.