The Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values in the House of Representatives, on October 27, warned the Federal Government against any attempt to clamp down on social media in the country.
The Chairman of the Committee, Olusegun Odebunmi, voiced the warning when the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, appeared before them to defend the 2021 budget proposed by the ministry.
Mohammed, while harping on the need to regulate the social media, had said: “The biggest challenge facing Nigeria today is fake news and misinformation.”
Odebunmi, however, countered saying, “Social media has come to stay. What the government should do is to look for technology that will work together with what is in the space. We are not asking the government to stop social media.”
The sentiments expressed by the Odebunmi-led Committee aligns with the thoughts of many who believe that there is more to government’s strong desire to bring the social media space under control.
This critical thinking is not without a base. Government’s move is driven largely by the growing recognition that the country’s youth population had become restive and leveraging the social media to rally opinions against the Buhari administration.
If the government was seeking a reason to act, it found a ready excuse in the #EndSARS protests which took on the colours of a global movement through the social media space.
One thing is sure, the Buhari-led administration can no longer hide its discomfort over use of the social media in the amplification of dissenting opinions.
While government’s battle against fake news is welcome, it must realize that the overwhelming concern is that it cannot be trusted with regulating the social media space for the good of all.
If any thing, the lead in its hidden agenda may have been revealed with the administration’s reported travel restriction on EndSARS promoters and access to their bank accounts.
Therefore, the early warnings from the Nigerian state suggest that it will cage freedom of expression and this runs contrary to human rights as guaranteed by the constitution.
A middle course, perhaps, would be to strengthen the existing cybercrime laws to discourage an uprising of the sort that was witnessed not too long ago.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“The United States of America has classified Fulani herdsmen as the fourth most dangerous organisation in the world. It is the responsibility of the leadership of this country to name and shame these pastoralists. That is the only way security agencies will have the power to arrest them?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Hapless power sector
On October 26, the Senate declared that due to Federal Government’s poor funding of the power sector, Nigeria’s hope for improved electricity supply was not realisable.
The declaration was sequel to a disclosure by the Minister of Power, Mamman Saleh, at his budget defense that the $5.8 million Mambilla project was yet to take off and that there was no adequate provision for the project in the 2021 budget.
The Chairman of the Committee, Gabriel Suswam and others, like Danjuma Goje, Shaibu Lau and James Manager, could not hide their disappointment over the revelation.
According to Goje: “The hope of getting stable power supply in Nigeria in the nearest future is dashed, going by gross underfunding of the sector and lack of required seriousness on those managing it.”
The hapless state of Nigeria’s power sector still baffles many who struggle to reconcile its parlous situation against the amount of money pumped into the industry since 1999.
It could be recalled that the Suswam-led Committee, this year, promised to present their findings on the probe of N1.8 trillion Federal Government’s intervention in the sector since its privatisation in 2012 to date.
Suswam, in July 2020, while speaking about the N1.8 trillion probe said: “Government is spending so much (on the power sector); there are no results commensurate with the expenditure.” His claims on the rot within the system is not alone.
Other reports lend credence to Suswam’s claims. On September 19, 2019, a report from the Centre for Health, Equity and Justice noted that: “The total estimated financial loss to Nigeria from corruption in the electricity sector from the return to democracy since 1999 to date is over eleven trillion (N11 trillion).”
Fast forward to 2020. On October 28, the Committee faulted Saleh for allegedly allocating about 20 electrification projects of between N20 million to N52 million to his Local Government Area in Taraba State.
It would seem, therefore, that the power sector has become the proverbial cow that should be milked recklessly. These developments speak to worsening corruption in government and cannot be sustained.
Nigeria may have missed the opportunity to rein in all culprits long before now, but it’s never too late. Accountability and transparency must be made watchwords, and the presidency has no choice but show commitment in prosecuting all accused persons, no matter how high or low, and how long it takes.
The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, on October 26, called for a thorough investigation into the arson, violence, destruction and massive looting of COVID-19 palliatives by rampaging hoodlums in various parts of the country.
“While still grappling with the havoc of COVIID-19, the country can ill afford yet another epidemic that has now appeared in the form of the lawlessness that is going on,” he said.
The monumental acts of lawlessness that trailed the #EndSARS protests make Lawan’s call imperative.
It must be stated that the ugly and regrettable events signpost the long years of frustration emanating from leadership failure. It also expresses the deep resentment the populace may have had with the quality of governance experienced under the Buhari administration.
A lot of work needs to be done in unraveling the near descent into anarchy which played out as hungry citizens looted COVID-19 palliatives in the wake of EndSARS protests.
It is hoped, therefore, that Lawan was not just playing to the gallery in calling for comprehensive probe of the crisis. It is expected that he would use his good offices to investigate, without any exemptions, those who may have been fingered in the mayhem and carnage.
Answer: Dickson Tarkighir
Tarkighir, who represented Markurdi/Guma Federal Constituency of Benue State at the House of Representatives, from 2015 to 2018, made the statement on January 8, 2018. And, that was when he was speaking on President Muhammadu Buhari’s handling of the Fulani herdsmen attacks in Benue State while featuring on Channels Television programme: Sunrise Daily.
By John Chukwu…
Join the conversation
INVESTIGATION….N.3bn down the drain: Why water projects for Enugu communities don’t work
In this concluding part, ARINZE CHIJIOKE talks about some of the projects that are serving the people and how various WASH programmes have failed to tackle...
INVESTIGATION…PARKVIEW ESTATE: Exclusive images of how billionaire property developer incurred Lagos govt‘s anger
Many have seen the demolished building, but not many know the circumstances that led to the teardown of the about...
INVESTIGATION… N.3bn down the drain, as Enugu communities suffer from dry taps
In November 2020, three organizations and the Enugu State government celebrated the completion of N300 million worth of projects that were expected...
INVESTIGATION… How herdsmen crisis compounds woes of already deprived Ogun communities
Earlier in January, the Nigerian media space was awash with reports of violence between herders and farmers across the country....
Investigation… Inside Enugu markets where traders are choked by multiple taxes
In recent times, the world economy has developed tremendously and this is partly linked with activities of petty traders who...
Portugal could host Chelsea vs Man City Champions League final
The 2021 UEFA Champions League final between Chelsea and Manchester City is likely to be held in Portugal. This was...
Aina, Maja’s Fulham relegated from Premier League
Super Eagles duo of Ola Aina and Josh Maja could not help Fulham avoid a drop from topflight football as...
Ajayi’s West Brom relegated from Premier League
Super Eagles defender, Semi Ajayi and his West Brom teammates have been relegated from the English Premier League. The club...
Real Madrid miss chance to go level with Atletico at top of La Liga
Real Madrid missed a chance to go top of the Spanish La Liga on Sunday after they were held to...
Juve’s UCL hopes under threat after stunning home defeat to Milan
Juventus’ hopes of reaching the UEFA Champions League next season was dealt a huge blow after they fell to a...
Latest Tech News
GirlCode partners Amazon to upskill unemployed women. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. GirlCode partners Amazon...
SpaceX to launch lunar mission funded with crypto. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. SpaceX to launch...
TechNigeria: A weekly digest of what went down in Nigeria’s tech space
It’s Saturday, again. Welcome to your favourite tech update column. Trust me to take you on a ride to catch...
Paystack launches venture in South Africa. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. Paystack launches venture...
Ex-US President, Trump, launches self-hosted “Twitter”. 2 other things and a trivia
This line-up of stories will help you discover the latest happenings around the tech world, today. 1. Donald Trump launches...
Nigerian govt signs MoU for nationwide deployment of 5G services
The Federal Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to begin the deployment of the Fifth Generation (5G) services...