Social Media : A Threat To Nigeria Democracy – President Muhammadu Buhari
ABUJA – President Muhammadu Buhari has warned that the use of social media to stir up negative passions by some Nigerians was a threat to the nation’s democratic development.
He said he had it on good authority that some anti-democratic elements were cashing in on social media technology to provoke passion and stir tension in the polity.
The President expressed this anxiety in his national broadcast commemorating the nation’s 58th Independence anniversary.
He said: “Now we have in our hands technology that is a powerful tool that we can and should use for knowledge and understanding.
“As with other countries, we must also learn how to manage those tendencies that instead look to abuse new technologies to provoke passions and stir tensions.
Never before have we faced such a challenge. We must all rise to the responsibility of shutting out those disruptive and corrosive forces that hide in today’s world of social media.
“We need critical minds and independent thinking to question and question until we are satisfied we have the facts. Otherwise, all the progress we have made as a democracy since 1999 is at stake.”
He used the broadcast to reiterate his commitment to a free, fair, and transparent election in 2019.
“I have committed myself many times to ensure that elections are fully participatory, free, and fair and that the Independent National Electoral Commission will be exactly independent and properly staffed and resourced. The ballot box is how we make our choice for the governments that rule in our name,” he stated.
On the farmers/herders crisis which has claimed several innocent lives in parts of the country, Buhari insisted it was a trans-human challenge, warning that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of defending or protecting herders or farmers would be met with the full wrath of the law.
His words: “The age-long conflict between herders and farmers that was being exploited by those seeking to plant the seeds of discord and disunity amongst our people is being addressed decisively.
“We will sustain and continue to support the commendable efforts by all, including civil society organisations, local and states governments, and our traditional and religious leaders in finding durable solution to this problem.
“This being a trans-human issue, we are working with countries in our region that are also facing similar difficulties to complement our common efforts.
“In this context, I must warn that the perpetrators of murder and general mayhem in the name of defending or protecting herders or farmers will face the full wrath of the law.
“Meanwhile, we urge all peace loving Nigerians to reject any simplistic portrayal, at home or abroad, of this conflict as either religious or ethnic-based.”
Buhari scored his administration high on taming insecurity, especially the Boko Haram insurgency, insisting that he would continue to support the troops in all ramifications.
“Our thoughts and prayers are always with the victims of the Boko Haram’s atrocities and their families. Beyond that, we know that the goals of the Boko Haram terrorists include capturing territories, destroying our democracy, and denying our children the right to education.
“We will not allow them to succeed. I want at this point to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces, the Police and other security and law enforcement agencies, who have been working under the most difficult conditions to keep the country safe. In the process, many have made the supreme sacrifice.
“As their Commander-In-Chief, I assure these our gallant men and women that I will continue to empower them by deepening their professionalism and providing all the necessary force multipliers and enablers required for them to prevail on the field.
“I am looking into all reported cases of inadequacies in relation to their entitlements, their welfare and those of their families.
“We are diversifying away from reliance on oil to increased manufacturing capacity, solid minerals development, and agriculture.
“Efforts are on course in the Niger Delta to clean up polluted lands, restore hopes of the youths in the region and re-establish livelihoods, and strengthen their capacity to guarantee for themselves and for our country a brighter future,” he stated.