The military is now monitoring the activities of Nigerians on the social media for hate speech, anti-government and anti-security information.
Director of Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, told Channels Television that the move became necessary in the light of troubling activities and misinformation capable of jeopardizing the unity of the country.
His comments come less than 48 hours after President Muhammadu Buhari said in his national broadcast that some of the discussion on social media in his absence crossed the line and left him distressed.
For Major General Enenche, the social media has always been a challenge all over the world and for the military, it is no different.
“It is a double-edged sword and we are also having a bit of it,” he said when he appeared on Channels Television’s News At 10, hours after President Buhari met with service chiefs and ordered them to strengthen their operations.
“Imagine when the President came back and addressed the nation, not up to 30 minutes later, a fake speech of the Commander-In-Chief was being circulated in order to do what? To derail the people. If you are not very sharp and if you didn’t listen to the speech or you don’t have a copy of it like I had it almost immediately, you wouldn’t know. So, looking at it from that perspective, it is a challenge everywhere.”
Having observed the possibility that the social media can be misused the military has taken steps to address that. One of such steps is the establishment of strategic media centres.
“What are we doing? In the military, we are now taking on it more seriously than ever. We have our strategic media centres that monitor the social media to be able to sieve out and react to all the ones that will be anti-government, be anti-military, (and) be anti-security,” the military chief continued.
“We tackle them appropriately with appropriate responses. Ahead of that, we are also proactive. We have measures in place, scientific measures to be able to sieve this information and also to get the public and let them know that some of this information they are getting is not genuine are not true and their objective is an anti-corporate existence of this country.”
There has been a rise in attacks by Boko Haram terrorists and it is one of the things the President advised the service chiefs to check. While the military intends to do just that, Major General Enenche said what they terrorists are doing is not surprising.
He said, “Like I have said before, it is not unexpected being that they have been degraded, decimated and really busted at camp zero and other cities there through the air bombardment and raids by members of the military, particularly the army. So you will see them spreading out like ants that have been busted from an anthill.”
According to him, the terrorists have benefitted in their attacks from the unending collaboration by insiders and sympathisers among the residents in the North East.
“However, I want to assure the general public and Nigerians that measures are in place to begin to take on them and begin to take them out. However highly placed anyone is or any insider or collaborator is, we are on top of the situation and we are beginning to get our information to begin to handle them appropriately,” he said.