According to a report by Leaders NG, the Nigerian Army has said that they have begun monitoring the activities of Nigerian citizens on social media. The Army, as revealed by the report, intends to identify social media users who are peddlers of fake news, hate speech, anti-government and anti-security information.
The revelation was made by Director of Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche during an interview on Channels Television News on the 23rd of August 2017. This latest development comes just 2-days after Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, delivered a live national broadcast on the 21st of August 2017, which was met with numerous social media outbursts – according to Naij.com.
For Major General Enenche, the social media space has always been a challenge all over the world and for the military, it is no different in Nigeria.
“It is a double-edged sword,” he said when he appeared on Channels Television’s News At 10, hours after President Buhari met with service chiefs and ordered them to strengthen their operations.
“Imagine when the President came back and addressed the nation, 30 minutes later, a fake speech by the Commander-In-Chief was being circulated in order to do what… derail the people. If you are not very sharp and if you didn’t listen to the speech, or you don’t have a copy of it like I had, you wouldn’t know. So, looking at it from that perspective, it is a challenge everywhere.”
How the regulation will work
One of the steps that will be taken in order to regulate social media in the country is the development of strategic media centres.
“Our strategic media centres will monitor social media channels in order to sieve out and react to all the social media posts that aim to be anti-government, anti-military, and anti-security-based. We will tackle them with appropriate responses. Ahead of that, we are also being proactive. We have measures in place, scientific measures, to be able to sieve this information and also alert the public and let them know that this information is not true,” the Major General continued.
The Major General also pointed out the recent rise in attacks by Boko Haram terrorists, which he claims is also linked to social media. For this reason, the President has enforced these regulations in the hope of clamping down on the infamous terrorist group.
“I want to assure the general public of Nigeria that measures are in place to deal with fake news and harmful social media posts. It does not matter how highly placed anyone is, we are on top of the situation and we are beginning to get our information to start handling this appropriately,” concluded Major General Enenche.