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National Security: Control social media now, Ayade warns FG

…Say its accelerating country’s disunity

By Ike Uchechukwu

CALABAR—Governor  Ben Ayade of Cross River State, has called on the Federal Government to regulate the activities on social media that may lead to a breach of national security.

Ayade
Governor Ben Ayade

Ayade at the 2019 National Broadcasting Summit with the theme: “Broadcasting & Democracy: Emerging Security Imperatives,”  organised by National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, said: “Social media in Nigeria must be regulated because freedom is not absolute.

“There is nowhere on earth that freedom is absolute, press freedom has limits, dissemination of falsehood should also have penalties.

“Misinformation is a menace that can lead to crisis, the social media is accelerating the disunity of Nigeria. So many things on social media cause disunity. They are used to disunite and disintegrate us .I believe in a united Nigeria.

“There are so many horrible pictures that are posted on social media that our kids are not supposed to see because it will  affect them adversely, it distorts a lot about their person and if this is not checked, we may not have the peace we have now.

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“The people who posts such pictures should be sent to jail, it is because of the law that we all surrendered  our freedom, it is the law that protects us. You post a picture from an incident that occurred in Mali as if it happened in Nigeria. A lot of such posting fuel religious crisis and killings.

“They use such to start crisis and fuel it, it is economic fraud, it is a sabotage. Broadcasting regulations must be stiffer and I am not against the freedom of the press but they must operator within  the ambit of the law.”

On his part, Chairman, Daar Communications , operators  of AIT and RayPower, Chief Raymond Dokpesi said:  “The governor of the state made a very useful presentation as a person in the driver’s seat where he has experienced the devastating effect of the impact of social media on the peace and stability of the state through the dissemination of falsehood.

“I am happy he has been able to limit it to the social media and not the traditional media. That notwithstanding, it is my belief that it calls for more openness and transparency in the management of the affairs of the country.

“A lot of the governors believe that the duty of governance is their personal right. If you are passing a budget, it is only fit and proper for it to be debated in the state House of Assembly  and the National Assembly.

“The media is fully involved and the people are well educated because that will eliminate the possibility of rumor being disseminated, you remove the possibility of  misinformation that comes thereafter.

“I want to also implore the governors that there is the need to be able to have a social media and new media that is responsible and responsive. They should also please let us have the ethics of democracy which is that they should be transparent.

“Budgets should be made available as enshrined in the constitution that the media should hold them accountable and they should be able to explain to the people.”

“How will you explain that the electoral commission  that is embarking on elections that N244 billion is being spent  and not even a dime is provided for voter education, in getting people ready for the elections.

“If you don’t let the public know these facts, then any speculation that comes in, don’t blame the media, look at yourself. See the media as your partners and work together with them.

“The state information officers were used by the colonial masters to promote and propagate the policies they want to embark upon, so let us have this in mind,” Dokpesi said.

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