Afghan Professor Arrested For Criticising Taliban On Social Media

Taliban fighters stand guard at a checkpoint on a street in Kabul on December 17, 2021. Mohd RASFAN / AFP

 

A prominent Afghan university professor who openly criticised the Taliban’s hardline regime has been arrested in Kabul, a spokesman for the government said.

Professor Faizullah Jalal has made several appearances on television talk shows since the previous US-backed government was ousted in August, blaming the Taliban for the worsening financial crisis and criticising them for ruling by force.

Since returning to power, the Taliban have cracked down on dissent, forcefully dispersing women’s rights protests and briefly detaining several Afghan journalists.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted that Jalal had been detained Saturday over statements he made on social media in which he was “trying to instigate people against the system and was playing with the dignity of the people”.

“He has been arrested so that others don’t make similar senseless comments in the name of being a professor or scholar that harm the dignity of others,” he added.

Mujahid shared screenshots of tweets he claimed had been posted by Jalal, which said the Taliban intelligence chief was a stooge of Pakistan, and that the new government considers Afghans as “donkeys”.

READ ALSO[Nowhere To Hide] Abused Afghan Women Find Shelter Dwindling

In one television appearance, Jalal called Taliban spokesman Mohammad Naeem — who was also participating — a “calf”, a grave insult in Afghanistan.

Clips of his passionate criticism went viral on social media, sparking concern he risked Taliban retribution.

Jalal’s wife Massouda, who once stood as Afghanistan’s first woman candidate for the presidency, posted on Facebook that her husband had been arrested by Taliban forces and detained in an unknown location.

“Dr. Jalal has fought and spoken out for justice and the national interest in all his activities pertaining to human rights,” she said.

A long-time professor of law and political science at Kabul University, Jalal has long had a reputation as a critic of Afghanistan’s leaders.

On Twitter, rights group Amnesty International condemned the arrest of the lecturer “for exercising his freedom of expression and criticising the Taliban”, calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

The Taliban have formed an all-male cabinet made up entirely of members of the group, and almost exclusively of ethnic Pashtuns.

They have further restricted women’s rights to work and study, triggering widespread international condemnation.

AFP

China ‘Livestream Queen’ Accounts Disappear After Record Fine


This photo taken on April 20, 2021 shows e-commerce livesreamer Huang Wei, also known as Viya, speaking during the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Boao, in south China’s Hainan province. STR / CNS / AFP

 

The social media accounts of an influencer known as China’s ‘livestreaming queen’ disappeared on Tuesday, after she was ordered to pay a record $200 million fine for tax evasion.

Huang Wei, known by her username Viya, is one of China’s most prominent livestreamers in an e-commerce sector that has accelerated its rapid growth despite the coronavirus pandemic that took hold last year.

Boasting over 110 million followers on social media Viya reportedly sold products worth a total of 8.5 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) in just one evening during China’s recent Singles’ Day shopping festival.

READ ALSO: US To Return $154m Stolen And Converted To Bitcoin

But her star has fallen fast since authorities on Monday announced the 1.3 billion-yuan penalty — the biggest of its kind in Beijing’s sweeping crackdown on celebrities.

Viya’s accounts vanished from major online platforms on Tuesday, with her livestreaming page on the Alibaba-owned Taobao shopping site rendered inaccessible.

Searches for her account on the Twitter-like Weibo and Douyin — China’s version of TikTok — also returned no results.

Chinese censors closely monitor content on the country’s tightly controlled internet and frequently order the removal of accounts belonging to people who fall out of the ruling Communist Party’s good graces.

Beijing has launched a broad crackdown on tax evasion and perceived immoral behaviour in the entertainment industry that has targeted online influencers and celebrity fan groups.

The tightening has coincided with the launch of President Xi Jinping’s “common prosperity” drive to reduce economic inequality, partly by reining in excessive incomes in the entertainment and technology sectors.

Tax authorities in the eastern province of Zhejiang said Monday that Viya “evaded 643 million yuan of taxes” between 2019 and 2020 by “concealing personal income and [making] false declarations of income.”

She had already been fined 530,000 yuan in June for breaching advertising laws after some fans accused her of peddling counterfeit products.

Authorities also fined two other livestreamers $14 million last month.

Before her account was taken down, Viya apologised on Weibo for breaking tax laws and said she fully accepted the punishment.

“I am very remorseful and apologise to the public,” she wrote.

A series of scandals have taken down some of China’s biggest entertainers this year as part of the crackdown.

Chinese actress Zheng Shuang was hit with a $46 million fine for tax evasion.

At the time, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television said it had “zero tolerance” for tax evasion and entertainers’ “sky-high pay”.

AFP

NNPC Denies Claims Of Recruitment Exercise

NNPC logo.

 

Unsuspecting job seekers in the country have been warned about a fraudulent job portal circulating on social media platforms, with claims that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is conducting a recruitment exercise.

In a statement on Saturday, the spokesman of the NNPC, Garba Muhammad refuted reports claiming that the corporation is recruiting new employees.

He explained that the NNPC usually announces such information whenever it decides to conduct a recruitment exercise through authentic and credible public communication channels including its website www.nnpcgroup.com

The NNPC spokesman asked unsuspecting job seekers to disregard the recruitment information as false and advised them not to FALL INTO THE TRAP OF SCAMMERS.

 

READ FULL PRESS STATEMENT

NNPC IS NOT RECRUITING.

This is to inform the general public that the information circulating, especially in the Social Media platforms, claiming that the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd (NNPC) is conducting a recruitment exercise IS NOT TRUE and the public should disregard it in its entirety.
Whenever NNPC decides to conduct a recruitment exercise, it will announce this to the public through authentic and credible public communication channels including the NNPC’s website (www.nnpcgroup.com). Once again the NNPC is NOT RECRUITING. DON’T FALL INTO THE TRAP OF SCAMMERS
Thank you.

Garba Deen Muhammad,
Group General Manager,
Group Public Affairs Division,
NNPC.

Abuja.
06. 11. 2021

From Nigeria To India, Gen Z Taps Apps To Invest


This photo taken on October 5, 2021 shows 20-year-old college student Ishan Srivastava checking stocks online on his computer, while actively trading on apps on his smart phone, at his residence in Ghaziabad. Prakash SINGH / AFP

 

There’s a new generation of investors in town. They’re young, they get their tips on YouTube, and they’re armed with apps that make the stock markets more accessible than ever before.

US investment app Robinhood has made a splash in the West with its mission to open the markets to “everyday people”, but from Nigeria to India, Gen Z are flocking to homegrown equivalents.

“I don’t really care about my college, to be honest. It’s all market, market, and market,” said Delhi student Ishan Srivastava, who started trading last December.

Srivastava uses a handful of Indian trading apps, including Zerodha and Upstox, and often gets his financial advice from YouTube. The ambitious 20-year-old hopes to build a diverse investment portfolio and then retire by 45.

In India in particular, the investment revolution has been aided by a boom in “demat” accounts — easy-to-open electronic accounts for holding financial securities, equity, or debt.

But a similar app-led investment craze is also underway 8,000 kilometres (5,000 miles) away, in Nigeria.

 Banks ‘Less Attractive By The Month’ 

The country’s economic hub Lagos has long been known for its hustle and celebration of success, but the weakness of the naira currency has put extra pressure on youths to make cash as the cost of living has rocketed.

Nigerians have flocked to local apps such as Trove and Risevest which allow them to invest in US stocks, widely seen as a means of protecting wealth as the naira nightmare continues.

“I had the option of putting the money in the bank, but that is looking less attractive by the month,” said 23-year-old Dahunsi Oyedele.

“Sometimes I put my money in Risevest and get some returns in a week. Imagine getting one or two percent returns on 100,000 naira ($240) each week — that’s small, but it means a lot.”

For a few months after losing his job as a tech journalist due to the pandemic, Oyedele covered his rent by trading cryptocurrencies.

He is far from alone in turning to speculation during the Covid-19 crisis, as a combination of mass joblessness, stay-at-home orders, and — for the fortunate — underused savings have encouraged people worldwide to dabble in trading for the first time.

In the US alone more than 10 million new investors entered the markets in the first half of 2021, according to JMP Securities, some of them drawn in by social media hype around “meme stocks” like GameStop.

Worldwide, the new arrivals are largely young. Robinhood’s median US customer age is 31; India’s Upstox says more than 80 percent of its users are 35 or under, a figure matched by Nigeria’s Bamboo (83 percent).

Trading apps have lowered the barriers to entry for youngsters in part by offering fractional trade.

A share in Amazon, for instance, is currently worth more than $3,000 — unaffordable for the average Gen Z or slightly older millennial. But a small fraction of that share might be within reach, particularly on an app that charges zero commission.

 Flirting With Danger? 

Trading apps may have been hailed as democratising access to the markets, but critics say they could also make it easier for inexperienced young investors to get into hot water.

In the US, the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether apps are irresponsibly encouraging overtrading using excessive email alerts and by making investment feel like a game.

And Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority warned in March that the new cohort of young investors — who skew in the UK towards being women and from minority backgrounds — have more to lose.

Nearly two-thirds of the new investors it surveyed said “a significant investment loss would have a fundamental impact on their current or future lifestyle”, the FCA found.

“This newer group of self-investors are more reliant on contemporary media (e.g. YouTube, social media) for tips and news,” the watchdog noted.

“This trend appears to be prompted by the accessibility offered by new investment apps.”

Some young investors have already been burned.

Mumbai-based product designer Ali Attarwala is giving trading a break after a bad experience with cryptocurrencies earlier this year.

“These apps make it easy to buy speculative assets like crypto, but there is still a lot of volatility in these new assets,” the 30-year-old told AFP.

Srivastava has also had ups and downs, but he sees his losses as part of the learning experience.

“When I started, I blew up almost 50 percent of the capital,” he said.

“I don’t treat them as my losses, but like education fees.”

AFP

[Video]: The Next World War Will Be Caused By Fake News – Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed appears before the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values.

 

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has warned against what he believes to be the growing trend of fake news, saying it can result in the next World War.

Lai Mohammed said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget on Monday.

“Information is not what it used to be 20, 30 years ago,” he told the committee.

“People of today, they don’t read newspapers, they don’t watch television — it’s social media. And it is the most expensive. It’s an unseen enemy, they are there every moment.

“I have always said it here that the next world war will be caused by fake news.

“You can see even the US that used to pride itself on the freedom of the press is now questioning the role of the social media,” he added.

 

 

This is not the first time the minister will be making such assertions, as he has always been at the forefront of conversations around fake news.

In February, the minister had said the use of social media in amplifying fake news had become a form of cancer.

He, therefore, called for collaboration among stakeholders to tackle the menace.

“If we do not take the issue of fake news, social media seriously, it will be at our own peril,” Mr Mohammed said at the time.

His comments also come at a time when there have been conversations around the Federal Government’s perceived plans to stifle the media via the regulation of social media.

In June, the Federal Government banned Twitter, days after the social media platform deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the government maintained that the suspension was needed because the platform had been used for activities that could destabilise the country.

With the suspension still in place despite public outcry, Nigeria joins countries like China, Turkey and Myanmar that have all moved to restrict access at some time to Twitter and other social media platforms.

Defending the ban, the Information Minister at the time, said Twitter must be registered and licenced locally for the suspension to end.

Social Media Giants Failing On Racist Abuse: Ex-Footballer Anton Ferdinand

Photo: Eric BARADAT / AFP

 

 

Social media companies need to act immediately to end racial abuse, former footballer Anton Ferdinand said on Wednesday, warning that online hate could even be fatal.

The ex-West Ham defender’s call came as he gave evidence to a parliamentary committee scrutinising the British government’s plan to tighten online safety laws.

It also followed fresh racist abuse targeting England’s black footballers both on and off the field.

Ferdinand, 36, highlighted the addictive nature of social media and the “mental health issue of not being able to escape it”.

“My worry is, what are the social media companies waiting for? Are they waiting for a high-profile footballer to kill themselves, or a member of their family to commit suicide?”

“Is that what they’re waiting for? Because it they’re waiting for that, it’s too late,” he added, accusing companies of talking a good game but failing to act.

England pair Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were subjected to monkey chants during the national side’s 4-0 World Cup qualifying win against Hungary in Budapest last week.

That followed police investigations into messages directed at some of England’s black players after the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy in July.

The UK Football Policing Unit in August said it had identified 207 potentially criminal posts, 123 of which were sent from accounts outside Britain.

One man appeared in court in northwest England on Wednesday and admitted a single charge of sending an offensive or abusive message by a public communication network.

Scott McCluskey, 43, from Runcorn in Cheshire, singled out Marcus Rashford, Bukayo Saka and Jadon Sancho in an abusive Facebook message after they missed their penalties in a shootout.

While at QPR, Ferdinand was at the centre of a racism row with Chelsea’s John Terry in 2011.

Terry was cleared of wrongdoing in court but banned by the Football Association for four matches.

Ferdinand suggested Wednesday there should be greater use of technology to block the sending of potentially inappropriate messages, and also to ban anonymous online accounts.

There also needed to be a greater understanding of the experience of racism within the higher echelons of social media companies, he added.

He was backed by former England women’s international Lianne Sanderson, who told lawmakers she had received racist, homophobic and sexist abuse online.

Marvin Sordell, a former England under-21 player, said social media abuse — and weak sanctions — was one of the reasons he left the sport aged just 28.

phz/jw/iwd

Social Media Restricted As Zambians Vote In Hard-Fought Polls


A polling station official holds a ballot during counting operations at the end of the vote at the Matero Secondary School in Lusaka, on August 12, 2021. MARCO LONGARI / AFP

 

Zambians flocked to vote for a president Thursday in tightly contested polls pitting incumbent Edgar Lungu and his long-time rival Hakainde Hichilema, as the internet saw partial restrictions.

After 12 hours of voting, polling stations started closing at 6 pm (1600 GMT) with several hundred still in queues waiting to cast ballots.

The closely fought presidential election is seen as a test of the country’s democratic credentials after a campaign dominated by economic woes and a debt crisis.

Sixteen candidates were vying for the top job, but the frontrunners are Lungu, 64, and business tycoon Hichilema, who are facing off at the polls for the third time.

It is Hichilema’a sixth attempt for the presidency.

“We are confident that we will carry the day,” he said after voting at a secondary school in a leafy suburb of Lusaka. “People want change — you can see it in their faces,” he told reporters as supporters crowding around him chanted “Bally! Bally!”

Addressing opposition fears of fraud, Hichilema said Zambia’s next leader “must be determined by the… voters, not the people who count the votes”.

But by afternoon the internet was partially shut down, with global observatory NetBlocks confirming that “social media and messaging platforms including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Messenger are now restricted.”

Student Edward Musayani, 26, who had been queueing for four hours to vote, said he checked his phone in the early afternoon and found that WhatsApp and Facebook had been switched off.

“That’s quite unfortunate in a democratic dispensation like ours… People should have access to information to make informed decisions,” he said while waiting to vote in the Chawama township.

“You are shutting down the voice of people and this will impact the election, how people view the election… People will be asking why,” he said.

The government had threatened to cut off internet access if people peddled “falsehoods that could destabilise” the election.

Lungu exuded confidence that he would retain the job he has held for the past six years in the copper-rich southern African country.

“We are winning, otherwise I wouldn’t have been in the race if we were not winning,” Lungu said earlier Thursday after he cast his ballot at a nursery school in Chawama.

READ ALSO: Social Media Misinformation On COVID-19 ‘Killing People’, Says Biden

Rising living costs 


Zambian Defense Forces patrol on an armored personal carrier (APC) in Lusaka on August 12, 2021, as Zambians elect their next president after a tense campaign dominated by economic woes in Africa’s first coronavirus-era sovereign defaulting country. Patrick Meinhardt / AFP

 

The vote “is a test of democracy in Zambia, it is a test ultimately of how fair and freely” the electoral commission will run it, said political economist Trevor Simumba, adding that the “real test will be in the counting process.”

A flagging economy and rising living costs have eroded the incumbent’s support base in recent years, surveys suggest.

Lungu is accused of borrowing unsustainably, particularly from Chinese creditors, to finance a spree of infrastructure projects.

Under him, Zambia became the first African country to default on its sovereign debt since the coronavirus pandemic began, while inflation soared to 24.6 percent in June, the highest rate in more than a decade.

Winding queues of hundreds of people formed before dawn outside polling stations hours before voting was to open.

The atmosphere was generally relaxed during voting.

Copper miner Thomas Wandu, 41, had been queueing for seven hours to vote for Lungu.

“Underground, things are not how they are supposed to be,” he said, referring to what he described as low and delayed wages from his Chinese employers.

Zambia is the second biggest producer of copper in Africa after the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the world’s eighth producer.

Lungu’s critics point to poverty and joblessness in the midst of glittering infrastructure.

Lungu and Hichilema supporters clashed in the runup to voting, prompting Lungu to order an unprecedented deployment of the army.

Around seven million citizens were eligible to vote for a president, legislators and local government representatives.

The winning candidate must acquire more than 50 percent of votes to avoid a second-round runoff.

UN chief Antonio Guterres is “closely” following the vote and called for the creation of “an environment conducive to credible, inclusive and peaceful elections”, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

Official results were expected by Sunday.

AFP

Social Media Misinformation On COVID-19 ‘Killing People’, Says Biden

US President Joe Biden holds a press conference after the US-Russia summit in Geneva on June 16, 2021. (Photo by PETER KLAUNZER / POOL / AFP)

 

President Joe Biden said on Friday that social media misinformation about COVID-19 and vaccinations is “killing people” and the White House said Facebook needs to clean up its act.

“They’re killing people. The only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” Biden told reporters at the White House, as he left for a weekend at the presidential retreat in Camp David.

The White House is turning up the pressure on social media companies to weed out what officials say is widely spread misinformation on coronavirus vaccinations.

According to US health officials, a current spike in Covid-19 deaths and illnesses around the country is almost exclusively hitting people who remain unvaccinated.

“There is a clear message that is coming through: this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky told reporters on Friday.

READ ALSO: PSG’s Hakimi Contracts COVID-19

Many of those refusing vaccinations, despite the ease of availability throughout the United States, have said they do not trust the shots.

Skepticism is being fueled both by false posts spread by anti-vaccine activists online and by Republican politicians claiming the vaccinations are part of attempts at government control.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that Facebook and others are not doing enough to push back.

“Everybody has a role to play in making sure there’s accurate information,” she said.

Psaki said the White House was taking a more active approach in calling out what it sees as misinformation but insisted that Facebook in particular should react more quickly in taking down problematic posts.

 

– Prolific fake news posters –

“There’s about 12 people who are producing 65 percent of anti-vaccine misinformation on social media platforms. All of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms,” Psaki said, without identifying those dozen posters.

The White House has “proposed that they create a robust enforcement strategy that bridges their properties and provides transparency about the rules,” she said.

The turning up of the volume against fake news immediately drew accusations from right-wing media that Biden was installing a “Big Brother” type surveillance over citizens’ opinions.

Facebook, which has contracted an army of independent outside fact checkers, including from AFP, to try and clean up its content, pushed back at the White House claims.

“We will not be distracted by accusations which aren’t supported by the facts,” a Facebook spokesperson told AFP.

“The fact is that more than two billion people have viewed authoritative information about Covid-19 and vaccines on Facebook, which is more than any other place on the internet. More than 3.3 million Americans have also used our vaccine finder tool to find out where and how to get a vaccine. The facts show that Facebook is helping save lives. Period.”

Earlier, Facebook said it was taking “aggressive action against misinformation about Covid-19 and vaccines to protect public health,” and that it had removed “more than 18 million pieces of Covid misinformation,” and disabled accounts spreading false information.

The CDC reported more than 33,000 new cases in the United States on Thursday, bringing the seven-day average up to 26,306, a 70 percent rise on the week before.

The seven-day average of hospital admissions is about 2,790 per day, an increase of 36 percent. And after weeks of declines, the seven-day average of deaths was 211, an increase of 26 percent.

The spikes are focused in communities with low vaccination rates and “unvaccinated Americans account for virtually all recent Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths,” said Jeff Zients, White House coronavirus response coordinator.

The new wave is driven by the Delta variant, which now accounts for more than 80 percent of new cases, according to the covSpectrum tracker.

AFP

Social Media Regulation Threatens Rights, UN Warns

The hearing is titled “Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

 

 

The United Nations on Wednesday warned that public and private actors are intervening against online content in ways that curtail rights and muzzle criticism.

“You see a digital world that is unwelcoming and frequently unsafe for people trying to exercise their rights,” said Peggy Hicks of the UN Rights Office in Geneva.

“You also see a host of government and company responses that risk making the situation worse,” she told a press briefing.

According to a tally by the agency, 40 new laws regulating social media have been adopted around the world in the past two years, with 30 more under examination.

“Virtually every country that has adopted laws relating to online content has jeopardised human rights in doing so,” she said.

In responding to public pressure to regulate online content, “some governments see such legislation as a way to limit speech they dislike and even silence civil society and critics,” Hicks said.

“We can, and should, make the internet a safer place, but it doesn’t need to be at the expense of fundamental rights,” she said.

She said the problem of “overbroad or ill-defined language” crossed ideological lines, from Vietnam to Australia, and Bangladesh to Singapore.

Hicks underscored the “critical importance of adopting human rights-based approaches to confronting these challenges,” adding: “We need to sound a loud and persistent alarm, given the tendency for flawed regulations to be cloned, and bad practices to flourish.”

Hicks pointed to calls in Britain for stringent regulations in response to online racist attacks against three black England players who missed penalties in Sunday’s Euro 2020 final.

Also at the briefing was UN human rights officer Marcelo Daher, who urged that “actual people — not algorithms — review complex decisions.”

WhatsApp Sues Indian Government Over Social Media Clampdown

WhatsApp
(FILES): Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFPWhatsapp

 

WhatsApp has launched legal action to stop India enforcing new social media rules that would break its privacy guarantees, the messaging platform told AFP on Wednesday.

The regulations, which took effect the same day, come at a time of growing tensions between social media giants and the Indian government, which has demanded tech companies remove content critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

WhatsApp told AFP it had filed a case in the Delhi High Court.

The Facebook subsidiary did not give details of the legal action but made clear its opposition to the new guidelines that would also affect Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.

The new rules demand “traceability” of messages, which requires social media companies to give details of the “first originator” of posts deemed to undermine India’s sovereignty, state security or public order.

They also require platforms to take down posts depicting nudity or manipulated photos within 24 hours of receiving a complaint.

“Requiring messaging apps to ‘trace’ chats is the equivalent of asking us to keep a fingerprint of every single message sent on WhatsApp, which would break end-to-end encryption and fundamentally undermines people’s right to privacy,” WhatsApp said in a statement.

READ ALSO: US Secretary Of State Blinken Visits Egypt On Mission To Shore Up Gaza Truce

WhatsApp, which claims 500 million users in India, said it would keep cooperating with “valid legal requests” for information from authorities.

Facebook and Google have said they are working towards complying with the guidelines.

India’s government has said it wants rules that make social media companies more accountable and stop the spread of “fake news”.

But it has been accused of seeking to crack down on criticism from the public.

Police this week visited Twitter’s offices in New Delhi as part of an investigation into the company’s move to mark a tweet by a spokesman for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party as “manipulated media”.

Sambit Patra had shared a document that purported to be a plan from the opposition Congress party to malign the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Congress said the document was a fake.

The government last month ordered Twitter and Facebook to remove dozens of posts critical of Prime Minister Modi’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Twitter had earlier agreed to a government request to ban some accounts criticising new agricultural laws that have sparked six months of protests by disgruntled farmers.

The platform reversed the ban in February.

AFP

Army Condemns, Threatens To Sue Those Sharing Photos Of Slain Personnel On Social Media

File Photo of the Nigerian Army logo.

 

The Nigerian Army has condemned and threatened to sue those involved in sharing the graphic pictures of personnel who paid the supreme price in the cause of defending and protecting the country from its adversaries on social media.

In a statement by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Mohammed Yerima, “This act is not only unpatriotic but very insensitive and utterly reprehensible”.

According to him, the Nigerian Army considers this despicable and unpatriotic act totally unacceptable and will henceforth take legal actions to protect troops who die in action from being ridiculed on social media or any platform.

“Officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army deployed to various theatres of internal security operations are on legitimate duties and are in the harm’s way to defend and protect the country from those who are intent on destroying it.

[READ ALSO] Insecurity: Reps To Audit Military Assets, Ask Buhari To Declare State Of Emergency

“In the course of carrying out this constitutional mandate, troops put their lives on the line to ensure that innocent citizens and institutions of the state are protected from violent criminals. In some cases, these gallant officers and soldiers are meted with the worst form of savagery by the heartless adversaries whose intent is to instill fear in the citizenry.

“While the Nigerian Army and its personnel understand the nature of the noble calling and are ever ready to confront any danger of adversity on the way, what is most unfathomable is the glee with which some people share the gory pictures of officers and soldiers who are either killed-in-action or Wounded-in-action in the media”, the statement added.

He noted that these unpatriotic acts are often done without any modicum of consideration for the memories of the departed personnel or their family members. “In some cases, their loved ones do find out about their unfortunate death in such callous manner before they are even contacted by the military authorities. One can only imagine the trauma and pain such families go through waking up to see the gory pictures of their loved ones splashed on social media”.

Read Full Statement Below:

PROTEST AGAINST INDISCRIMINATE AND INSENSITIVE SHARING OF GRAPHIC PICTURES OF KILL-IN-ACTION SOLDIERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

The Nigerian Army condemns in the strongest term possible, the indiscriminate sharing on social media of graphic pictures of personnel who paid the supreme price in the cause of defending and protecting the country from its adversaries.

This act is not only unpatriotic but very insensitive and utterly reprehensible.

Officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army deployed to various theatres of internal security operations are on legitimate duties and are in the harm’s way to defend and protect the country from those who are intent on destroying it.

In the course of carrying out this constitutional mandate, troops put their lives on the line to ensure that innocent citizens and institutions of the state are protected from violent criminals. In some cases, these gallant officers and soldiers are meted with the worst form of savagery by the heartless adversaries whose intent is to instill fear on of the citizenry.

While the Nigerian Army and its personnel understand the nature of the noble calling and are ever ready to confront any danger of adversity on the way, what is most unfathomable is the glee with which some people share the gory pictures of officers and soldiers who are either killed-in-action or Wounded-in-action in the media.

These unpatriotic acts are often done without any modicum of consideration for the memories of the departed personnel or their family members. In some cases, their loved ones do find out about their unfortunate death in such callous manner before they are even contacted by the military authorities. One can only imagine the trauma and pain such families go through waking up to see the gory pictures of their loved ones splashed on the social media.

The Nigerian Army consider this despicable and unpatriotic act totally unacceptable and will henceforth take legal actions to protect troops who die in action from being ridiculed on social media or any platform.

Mohammed Yerima
Brigadier General
Director Army Public Relations
27 April 2021

DSS, Police Should Invite People Who Make Unsubstantiated Claims On Social Media – Umahi

A photo showing the logo of the social media and social networking service, Facebook and Twitter on a computer screen.

 

Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, has called on the Department of State Services (DSS) and Nigeria Police to invite Nigerians who make ‘unsubstantiated statements’ on social media to explain reasons for their comments.

The governor who made this comment during an interview on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily said this is important to prevent an increase in crime.

“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 the country and then castigate the leader of the country. There is no patriotism at all.

“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. This is very important,” Umahi said.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) governor noted that these unpatriotic comments are capable of inciting division and might eventually plunge the country into a crisis or lead to war.

“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.

“What I have in the (Ebonyi) State, the communal clash 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 that and emotions will arise and the problem will continue.”

Umahi’s reaction comes a week after the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed said Twitter chose Ghana as the headquarters for its African operations, due to unpatriotic comments of Nigerians who demarket Nigeria.

Mr Mohammed said the tech giants chose Accra, Ghana over Nigeria because the nation’s West African neighbours are champions of democracy and abide by the rule of law.

“The reasons cited by Twitter for citing the headquarters in Accra, Ghana is that Accra is a champion of democracy and there is rule of law in the country, among other reasons. This is what you get when you de-market your country,” the Minister stated.