The National Orientation Agency (NOA) called on Nigerians on Monday to use the 2023 Valentine’s Day celebration to show patriotism and love for one another to ease national rebirth and peace.
Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, gave the advice at the Patriotism Orientation Programme held at Government Secondary School, Gosa, Abuja.
Abari said the purpose of the programme was to promote safe online space for Nigerian children.
The director-general said Nigeria and its people had witnessed a disturbing trend in the social and political conversation that sometimes called to question tradition of friendship, love for neighbour and sense of unity.
According to him, this trend seems to suggest that Nigerians have not learnt anything from history and that the long, well thought-out national integration initiatives are yet to yield the desired results.
“Government and well-meaning citizens continue to express worry at the level of division and hate that is being expressed in the conventional and social media about us and by us.
“The social media in particular, which is mostly used by our youths, because of its largely uncontrolled nature, gives amplitude to voices of hate, misunderstanding and intolerance.
“This blurs our beautiful diversity for which the world admires our country,’’ he said.
Abari that Nigerians should support government’s efforts at sustaining peace and security during 2023 general elections.
“As we approach the general elections, it is important to note that the promotion of peace and security is a task for every individual whether young or old.
“We are all stakeholders in security and peace-building and we must all take action in supporting government’s efforts at sustaining peace and security in Nigeria.
“This underscores the relevance of national cohesion which is a condition precedent for peace and security.
“The synergy that national cohesion brings to the table is the sort that modern societies leverage for their development.
“The resultant mutual respect and love among citizens is an invaluable contribution to promoting peace in Nigeria through our common heritage which signposts our common destiny,’’ Abari stressed.
Speaking on behalf of the students, Master Umar Isah, said that with the programme, students were aware of the dangers associated with social media platforms, especially with the trend of the spread of fake news and hate speeches.
According to him, the advocacy has opened the minds of students to safer platforms which we will be utilised to contribute to nation- building.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that NOA in partnership with Tiktok and Data Scientists Network organised the programme with the theme: “Fall in love with Nigeria.’’