Group to Mil­i­tary: Stop Mon­i­tor­ing Nige­ri­ans on So­cial Me­dia


Solomon Elu­soji

An ad­vo­cacy group, the Part­ner­ship for Me­dia and Democ­racy, has con­demned the Nige­rian mil­i­tary for its ap­par­ent mon­i­tor­ing of Nige­ri­ans on so­cial me­dia, call­ing on the fed­eral gov­ern­ment to re­strain such ac­tiv­i­ties.

Less than 48 hours after Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari hinted of so­cial me­dia an­i­mos­ity in his lat­est na­tional broad­cast, the Di­rec­tor of Defence In­for­ma­tion, Ma­jor Gen­eral John Enenche, had told Chan­nels Tele­vi­sion that the mil­i­tary was now mon­i­tor­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties of Nige­ri­ans on so­cial me­dia for hate speeches and anti-gov­ern­ment rhetoric.

The move be­came nec­es­sary in the light of “trou­bling ac­tiv­i­ties and mis­in­for­ma­tion ca­pa­ble of jeop­ar­diz­ing the unity of the coun­try,” Enenche said.

But PAMED, which com­prises the In­ter­na­tional Press Cen­tre (IPC), Me­dia Rights Agenda (MRA), and the In­sti­tute for Me­dia and So­ci­ety (IMS), be­lieves the ac­tion is “a vi­o­la­tion of the rights of Nige­ri­ans to free­dom of ex­pres­sion and the pri­vacy of their com­mu­ni­ca­tions guar­an­teed by the con­sti­tu­tion and in­ter­na­tional hu­man rights in­stru­ments to which Nige­ria is a party,” and that it would lead to “abuse of power” by the mil­i­tary.

PAMED, in its state­ment re­leased in La­gos yes­ter­day and signed by the Di­rec­tor of IPC, Mr. Lanre Aro­gun­dade, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of MRA, Mr. Ede­taen Ojo and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of IMS, Dr. Akin Ak­ing­bulu, also noted that the move would un­der­mine “the right of the pub­lic to know about the ac­tiv­i­ties of the gov­ern­ment in­clud­ing the se­cu­rity agen­cies which in a democ­racy are sub­or­di­nate to civil au­thor­i­ties” and lead to the “non-guar­an­tee of the safety of me­dia pro­fes­sion­als, es­pe­cially on­line jour­nal­ists and those cov­er­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties of the mil­i­tary.”

The ad­vo­cacy group called on the mil­i­tary au­thor­i­ties to im­me­di­ately re­scind its de­ci­sion and dis­man­tle any me­dia cen­tres it might have es­tab­lished for such anti-demo­cratic pur­poses.

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