The active president of Nigeria VP Osinbajo on wednessday meet with South East leaders with a warning speech of “war can something start with words”.
The active president who is seeking for peace handed down the warning in his opening remarks at a meeting he had with leaders of thought from the South-East at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting was in continuation of his consultations over the recent notice to quit handed down to people of Igbo extraction to leave the North by northern youth groups.
He had on Tuesday met with leaders of thought from the North on the same issue.
The Acting President warned his guests that when words were thrown into the market like stones, no one could predict who or what it would hit.
He urged the South-East leaders not to tolerate, excuse or justify hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, under any guise.
He said, “It is clear that wars sometimes start, not with bullets, but with words. Hateful, incendiary speech, open floodgates of blood. The tongue, like the pen, is often mightier than the sword – because it is what pushes the sword into action.
“When we throw words like stones in a marketplace we do not know who or what it will hit.
“Knowing this, under no condition whatsoever should we tolerate or excuse or justify hate speech or hateful conduct of any kind, especially where such is illegal.
“Let me, of course, acknowledge that as part of living together in this space called Nigeria, misunderstandings and frustrations are inevitable and because resources are limited there will always be a striving to get what is perceived as the best seat at the table.
“All of that is normal and to be expected, especially in a democracy, like ours. A healthy democracy ought to be a theatre of energetic striving by all parties and stakeholders. But things should never descend to a level where mutual suspicions override the desire to live together in peace and harmony.”
Osinbajo said he had told the elders of thought from the North on Tuesday that hate or divisive speech, or divisive behaviour, where it was illegal, would be met with the full force of the law.