There is no doubt that inventors of the social media platforms who are not Nigerians have good intentions. Such intentions include making communication easier, faster, secret and untainted and others. With this, the world becomes a full global village, where information and communication are made easier than ever before.
While this technological breakthrough has contributed immensely to rapid development in other climes, it is not so in Nigeria. In Nigeria today, social media platforms are mostly used by disgruntled elements to promote divisive, tribal, parochial, fabricated and sentimental information, messages and ideas capable of disintegrating the country.
Today, virtually every Nigerian who knows how to operate a handset is either a blogger or an online journalist without clear identity or known address. This is even when such individual do not know the elementary rudiments of journalism or writing.
That is why, on every social media platforms, all Dick and Harry are busy fabricating and posting all sorts of rubbish as news and opinions. Unfortunately, some gullible Nigerians because of irredentism and mind fixation rely on the gibberish to form opinions.
This is the dangerous trend in Nigeria today being promoted by the so-called bloggers and online journalists that requires urgent attention. These bloggers are being compromised to do the bidding of their paymasters. So worrisome is the fact that some of them are even making incursion into the mainstream media by influencing some editors to publish lies and rumours as news.
Just at the peak of the recent Army/IPOB clash in Southeast, one popular online blog published fabricated a story, alleging that the Minister of Interior, Lt General Abdulrahman Bello Dambazau (rtd) had threatened to kill IPOB leader Nnamdi Kanu. Reacting to the allegation, Dambazau’s Press Secretary, Osaigbovo Ehisienmen, said: “The perpetrators of the malicious statements are out to cause disaffection, disunity and insecurity, while creating public unrest, detrimental to the wellbeing of Nigerians and other foreign nationals in the country.”
Without this reaction, one needs no prophet to know that Dambazzau couldn’t have made this statement or threatened to kill Kanu. This is considering the fact that during his days in the Nigerian Army, Dambazzau was a man of peace, who left service with untainted record. Since he assumed office as Minister of Interior, he has not only preached peace, he has promoted it and had pushed for a bill on hate speeches and actions. He is a detribalised Nigerian, who strongly believes in the Nigerian project. Following the military intervention in the Southeast over IPOB activities and others, which sparked crisis in Jos, Dambazzau quickly visited Jos, where he assured Nigerians of their safety in any part of the country.
Besides, Kanu does not need to die or be killed by anybody for government to curtail the activities of IPOB in Nigeria. Due process needs to be followed in doing so and the Federal Government has not failed in that direction.
So, it is surprising that those behind this false report want to achieve, if not disaffection in the country. It is obvious that peddlers of this tissue of lie against Dambazzau are unpatriotic and paid agents, who are on the mission of destroying the country. They want to provoke Dambazzau and his people into actions that are capable of distracting him on the good work he is doing for the country. Those behind this falsehood against Dambazzau should have known that Nigerians are not only wiser today, they have realised the antics of the bloggers and online journalists, which is-“pay me I will do the dirty job for you.”
Besides, this is not the first time this kind of false report is planted in the social media platforms against Dambazzau, it will not be the last. So there is nothing new about it, since it has become a tradition in Nigeria for people to hide under the social media platforms and use pseudo names to malign people’s character. That is the reason majority of the bloggers are against government agencies monitoring or regulating their activities on social media, even when such is obtainable in other countries.
But that is a matter of time, considering the role played by some bloggers on the social media platforms at the peak of the IPOB activities in the Southeast that nearly plunge Nigeria into another avoidable crisis, if not for the quick intervention of the security agents.
Having been compromised by the IPOB sponsors and sympathisers, the bloggers peddled false reports and pictures in promotion of IPOB activities and denigration of Nigerian government. A development that made some Nigerian journalists, especially in Southeast, to fall prey to IPOB propaganda antics to the detriment of their profession. It is obvious that proscribing IPOB is like ending business for some bloggers and journalists that have been feeding fat on the false project without considering the large consequences.
In the days ahead, more lies will be peddled against some ministers, whose ministries were involved one way or the other in stopping the Biafra agitation in the interest of the unity and peace of Nigeria.
– Akamana, a development consultant wrote from Jabi, Abuja