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The governors of the northern states of Nigeria have said that social media is having a negative impact on the spread of false information, which is causing strife and division among the people.
They made the announcement at a meeting of traditional rulers, northern Nigerian lawmakers and other security stakeholders.
The issue of regulating the use of social media was discussed by northern governors at a meeting in Kaduna on Monday.
Some governors believe that before demarcating the boundaries for the institutions, they should first be monitored and legislated. "This can avoid the spread of false information and cause discord among the people," said the chairman of the League of Governors, the governor of Plateau State.
Governors say social media is a major "threat" to national security.
In a statement issued after the meeting, the governors said social media was very effective in spreading false information and inciting the public, citing the EndSARS protests as an attempt to dismantle the anti-robbery police force. which turned into a riot as some miscreants took over the management of the protest.
Governors have expressed the need to take action on how the sites are being used, saying many countries have taken action and succeeded.
What are Nigerians saying ?
But the governors' move has sparked outrage on social media, with Nigerians slamming governors, especially on Twitter.
@ShehuSani, a former Nigerian senator from Kaduna, criticized the governors, saying gunmen were killing their people every day, people were being kidnapped for ransom and villages were being raided. And their people are in a state of fear and despair, but social media is their biggest problem
@AishaYesufu A Nigerian activist responded to the Northern Governors' Forum by saying: Boko Haram, militants and kidnappers are among the problems in the north. But the biggest problem for the north is the regional leaders. She also used the north rescue theme #FreeNorth
@MFaarees said despite the killings we are facing in the north but the discussion of the northern governors on the issue of social media.
Northern leaders discuss security issues
In their discussions, the governors highlighted the problems plaguing their areas such as the killings, kidnappings and kidnappings for ransom.
The problems include killings and kidnappings for ransom in areas particularly Zamfara, Katsina, Kaduna and neighboring states and the ongoing Boko Haram insurgency in the northeastern region of the country.
The chairman of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmed Lawal, told the BBC that Kwalya had paid for the meeting, which looked at the situation in the country, and how the northern part of Nigeria could remain stable.
"We look at the situation in the country and how the north can remain peaceful, and how our communities can continue to enjoy better security and peace with other communities in other parts of Nigeria." 'said Senator Ahmed Lawal.
"We have taken important steps to ensure that the northern part of Nigeria remains safe and secure, as well as providing employment to our youth," he added.
The governors discussed the recent violence caused by the EndSARS protests in some parts of the country, and the role played by youths.
This is not unrelated to the fact that the issue of protests is gaining traction on social media inside and outside the country.
The Senate President also said that the meeting commended the youths of the north of the country for responding to the calls of teachers and their leaders not to participate in the ENDSARS protests in recent weeks which have turned into violent riots in some states of the country.
"The non-participation of the youths in the north has helped, so it is up to us to ensure that our youths do not have to come out and open their mouths before we can listen to them," he said.
Dr Abubakar Kari of the University of Abuja told the BBC that the decision to regulate the use of social media was a good one, but that caution should be exercised, as it was a human rights issue.
"There have been a lot of incidents in recent years that show that these channels are being used to divide citizens, by spreading negative things." he said.
He said that during the EndSars protests on social media they made a name for themselves by spreading false propaganda, using violent pictures and videos which were mostly aimed at dividing the community and insulting the government and harassing them. for a part of the country.
The expert said the media all had their own benefits for the citizens but they further posed a threat to peace on the ground.
The commentator also emphasized that there are a number of rules that clearly state that, most of the time social media use is inappropriate, it should be looked at because there are penalties reserved for anyone who violates the rules.
He said the main challenge was to ensure that these laws were used properly.
"The police and other security forces should be able to do their job properly, but they are not doing it. Anyone who breaks the law should be brought to justice. This is the way to go," he said. can limit such incidents. "
Dr Abubakar Kari said it was good to talk about Nigeria's unity as a nation, and to condemn the spread of false information in the social media, which could be said to be a threat to stability and peace in the country. during the EndSARS demonstration.
He said governors should focus on security because the government has always said it is taking action but nothing is seen, "and all northerners know where the problem lies, even if it is Boko Haram." , or by armed robbers, murderers and kidnappers for ransom. "
The expert said leaders' determination to take action instead of taking drastic measures and addressing them was exacerbating the region's problems.