Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has urged the Department of State Services and the Nigeria Police Force to invite Nigerians making “unsubstantiated statements” on social media capable of heating the polity.
The governor, whose state has been under attacks lately by suspected herdsmen, said politicians making unguarded utterances on social media were part of the reasons why total calm has not returned to the affected communities in his state.
Umahi, a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress, stated this on Thursday while featuring on Channels Television’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ programme monitored by The PUNCH.
He said, “The level of crimes in the country is as a result of unpatriotic acts of a lot of us. We, leaders, we come out on television and then we speak, indict other regions, we speak against other regions, we pick on the leader of a country and then castigate the leader of a country. There is no patriotism at all.”
The governor, who belongs to the same party as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), added, “The way to prevent this thing is that if you are making unsubstantiated statements in the social media, the police, the SSS, you should be invited to explain and this is no politics because the country cannot fold our hands and allow people to plunge the country into another war and this is very important.
“I was told that one of the world wars started with a family quarrel and so if you are making a statement on social media calling it freedom of speech, you must come to the law to substantiate it.
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“What I have in the state now should have stopped but for the politicians who are making unguarded accusations and statements in the social media and then people outside the state will just cash on on that and emotions will rise and the problem will continue.”
The PUNCH had reported that Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, blamed unpatriotic Nigerians for being the reason why social networking service, Twitter, decided to make Ghana its African headquarters.
The regime of the President has in recent time sought stiffer penalties for persons who “misuse social media”.
The Senate is currently deliberating on Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019 commonly known as the anti-social media bill.
It seeks to criminalise the use of the social media in peddling false or malicious information. It was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Musa, a member of the President’s party, the All Progressives Congress.