Vol. 5, Issue 4 (2019)
Hate speech and security challenges: A pragmatic study of Nnamdi Kanu’s speeches in the south-eastern Nigeria
Author(s): Taofeek Olanrewaju Alabi, Adewale Kazeem Ayeloja
Abstract: In this paper, we examine the utterances of Nnamdi Kanu, the self acclaimed leader of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB), a secessionist group based in the South- Eastern part of Nigeria from a pragmatic perspective, with the aim of determining whether they constitute hate speech, capable of creating security challenges in Nigeria’s socio-political environment. As language is an instrument of action, Lawal’s (2003) “Aspects of Pragmatic theory” serves as our theoretical framework. The data analysis was retrieved online. A total number of 20 (twenty) expressions were purposively extracted from Kanu’s speeches for analyses. Contexts and competencies of each utterance were measured using both surface and background information of the interlocutors. The perlocutionary effect of each locutionary was also measured from the illocutionary force of each utterance. Our findings reveal the preponderance use of assertives, commissives, verdictives, declaratives and directives. It equally shows the utterances were full of inflammatory rhetoric and verbal attacks which classify them as hate speech, capable of inciting hatred and violence within the polity and as such constitute threat to national security and unity.