By Chijioke Kingsley
If we cannot stop the violence caused by social media, we can at least manage it, contain it and transform it, Ahmed Yassin, the lead facilitator, Centre For Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) Nigeria, has said.
Speaking on Monday in Jos, during an event tagged: “The Social Media Dialogue Peace Agreement Signing Ceremony”, the HD lead facilitator echoed that the world was now a global village with the advent of technology, hence if not regulated, youths could set the country on fire in a second, he said.
The agreement which involved the Bassa LGA communities of Bache, Fulani and Irigwe youths of Plateau State, had clauses which stipulates that: “social media influencer’s liaise with government at all levels and security agencies to coordinate with social media groups to minimise violent viral content, especially from media outlets.
“Civil society organisations and social media groups create awareness and hold periodic workshops to educate people to use social media positively and responsibly and avoid the harmful effect of social media on peace in Bassa LGA”, the document of agreement sighted by our correspondent reads in part.
However, Yassin said the social media agreement is a pilot scheme and one of the key recommendations that will come out is to establish monitoring and evaluation committee within the youths so that the agreement signed will be for posterity.
“It is not a sign-off for today, it will be a continuous process. There is also a post-signing process and we are hoping that as HD, we will continue to support them for three months and eventually for sustainability to ensure that whatever they have agreed today, they are going to adhere to it”, Yassin said.
On his part, the Plateau State Military Task Force Commander, Operation Safe Haven, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Ali, lauded HD for the initiative, saying the effort will help to reduce the incessant attacks in Bassa LGA.
Ali said the effort would forster positive online behaviour among youths as well as the use of social media for good.
“These efforts if harnessed remains one of the best tools we can all use in forstering peace among the youths of our communities”, Gen. Ali said.
In his address, the Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong, applauded the process, adding that the effort was in line with the government’s peace agenda for the dtate, saying that it would deepen the process of sustaining peace.
Represented by the Director-General, Plateau Peace Building Agency, Mr. Joseph Lengman, Lalong, however, lamented the new trend of distruction of farmlands by hoodlums in the state, hoping that the signing of the social media agreement will help to change the growing trend.