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DSS raises alarm over alleged plot by individuals to incite violence in Nigeria

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The Department of State Services (DSS), Wednesday alleged of plots and attempts by some individuals to cause disaffection and violence across the country.

It also specifically alleged that some people whom it described as “subversive and undemocratic elements” are trying to incite or pit one ethnic group against the other by stoking the embers of tribal sentiments.

DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya said this in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja.

Further, Afunanya explained, “Findings revealed that these unpatriotic actors make unguarded public statements and use the social media platforms to instill fear in the minds of citizens.

“These are reflected in the misleading statements and articles being circulated among unsuspecting members of the public.

“Such inciting materials oftentimes are designed to make or convey false accusations by one group against the other.

“They also resort to skewing historical narratives to suit their objective of masterminding ethnic violence in the nation. So far, some of the culprits have been arrested”.

DSS, therefore, affirmed that in view of its mandate to detect and prevent crimes against the country’s internal security, it must demonstrate its commitment to the indissolubility and indivisibility of the country as enshrined in the Constitution.

It also reiterated its avowed dedication to the protection of democracy in Nigeria.

On this premise, Afunanya added that DSS would continue to sustain its position positively and gainfully engage all stakeholders while undertaking appropriate security measures against the alleged undesirable characters whose preoccupation, it claimed, was to cause a breakdown of law and order in the country.

DSS also warned, “The Service hereby warns individuals or groups involved in these divisive acts and tendencies to desist forthwith.

“While it is determined to ensure that the tribal chauvinists and mischief makers do not continue to exploit socio-political differences and the internet platforms to threaten the peace and stability of the country, it will, however, sustain the apprehension and prosecution of defaulters.

“Community leaders and persons of influence are, therefore, enjoined to be most responsible in their utterances as well as rein in (their) people for national cohesion and peaceful co-existence.

“Aggrieved persons and groups are encouraged to use dialogue as a true means of non-violent resolution of disputes or any misgivings.

“It is believed that only when the country is united that she can achieve her greatness. It is also instructive to know that no country develops in an environment of chaos”.

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Crime

Auto crash claim 159 lives in Edo

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Edo Sector Command, has said that no fewer than 159 people died in road traffic crashes in the state between November 2018 and October. Mr Anthony Oko, the State Sector Commander, disclosed this on Thursday in Benin during the commemoration of the 2019 World Accident Victims Remembrance week.NAN reports. […]

Auto crash claim 159 lives in Edo

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Arewa

Boko Haram: Real reasons Army hasn’t completely wiped out insurgents in Northeast revealed

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Fresh revelations have emerged on why the Nigerian Army is yet to clear the remnant of Boko Haram terrorists from the Northeastern part of the country.

A report by the Centre For Social Justice, Equity And Transparency, CESJET, said fake news, foreign actors were major distractions to the Army in clearing remnants of Boko Haram elements operating in the northeast.

In a statement signed by its Executive Secretary, Isaac Ikpa, CESJET tasked the media, citizens and all stakeholders to be patriotic in identifying and exposing fake news targeted at derailing the war against Nigeria’s enemies.

The report reads: “The menace of fake news in Nigeria is a time bomb waiting to explode. This is on the heels that misinformation and hate speech have threatened the peace, unity, security and the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“The relevant authorities in Nigeria have strived to educate the populace on the demerits of fake news and how its continued patronage has aided the spread of terrorism in the country.

“The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency, in carrying out one of its core mandate consequently commissioned a special report to look at the menace of Fake News in Nigeria in an attempt to bring to the fore the various factors responsible for the spread of Fake news in Nigeria, as well as measures the relevant authorities needs to put in place to curtail the spread of fake news in the country.

“The Centre for Social Justice, Equity and Transparency x-rayed the origin of fake news in Nigeria and took a systematic approach in highlighting the impact on the Nigerian polity. It also looked at the various mediums through which fake news is propagated. The focus of the report was 2015 to 2019 to cover the years that fake news gained prominence in Nigeria. The choice of 2015-2019 was also informed by the numerous efforts of the relevant agencies in Nigeria towards arresting the menace of fake news in the polity.

“Terrorism is now a major feature of the international political system in the 21st century. Terrorism in the 21st century has gone beyond its traditional conception both in the motivations, objectives, tactics, techniques and territorial aspiration of its actors. Traditional terrorism uses kidnappings, suicide bombings (human and vehicle borne), hostage-taking, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and armed assaults to achieve mostly political objectives. Terrorism in its present incarnation has expanded from the physical (geographical regions) into the virtual (cyberspace) and its techniques now include the use of technology-driven devices such as unmanned aerial vehicles, Twitter, Blogs Youtube and Facebook. Terrorists’ objectives have gone beyond such abstract concepts as instilling fear, creating awareness for a particular cause and forcing governments to change specific policies, to tangible and disruptive aims like the creation of viable political, administrative, religious and territorial units.

“Terrorism has been around since the beginning of recorded history. What have changed are the dissident groups’ capability of inflicting harm on an ever-larger number of people, their ability to organize through the Internet, and, thanks to the media, a heightened concern, bordering on paranoia, among the populace about their own security. Domestically, nations, are deeply concerned about the radicalization of the youth along the entire ideological spectrum. Increased migration from the war-torn areas and failed states is not only putting strains on the nations’ resources but is also fomenting xenophobic reactions among native populations.

“There are also fears of terrorist cells among immigrant minorities, isolated in their enclaves. To this volatile mix, we must add the internecine warfare with deep historical roots in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Thus, fake news is an enhancer of terrorism and terrorist activities around the world.

“Fake news and its Terrorism Influences: Media and terror are inextricably linked. The media is expected to report and analyse terror as a matter of international priority. Yet striking the right balance between informing the public without unnecessarily stoking fear or giving disproportionate publicity and attention to a terrorist organisation is a complex task. To make matters even more complicated, since the emergence of new media, social media in particular, ‘traditional’ media has had to adapt to and compete in an accelerated news cycle of reporting, commentary and analysis.

“Digital platforms such as Blogs, Twitter and Facebook have changed the flow of information in a way that enables unverified user-generated content (UGC) to appear alongside media outlets’ fact-checked content. Unlike traditional media, UGC isn’t subject to strict editorial, ethical or practical guidelines and the speed and scale at which this information is created and disseminated is hard to contain. This presents challenges to news reporting on terror, such as the spread of misinformation and ‘fake news’.

“There has been an increasing focus on violent activities in social media and what would traditionally be categorized as criminality has increasingly branded as ‘terrorism’ as event unfolds and before all of the facts can be ascertained and a judgment made upon factual evidence. The use of social media and other media sources contributes in part to the premature categorisation of these events and creating unnecessary hype.

“The use of language, labeling coupled with unsubstantiated or grossly inaccurate facts before an event has been analyzed, can result in misinformation and heighten the public fear unnecessarily.

“The difficulty is thus separating the fake news about terrorism, the over-exaggerations and untruths from what unfolds. In doing so this creates confusion, fear and unnecessarily intensifies events at a time when the focus should be primarily on dealing with an incident and helping the victims, whether injured or deceased and those directly affected by the event. A further problem arises which is event fatigue: individuals becoming desensitised to images of pain and suffering and the acceptance of a new norm.

“The question then becomes what can we do to ensure the accurate flow of information and the correct categorisation of events. The other interesting question is that terrorist groups or cells manipulate criminals and mentally ill persons to carry out criminal attacks to ensure that they take credit for these events.

“Communicating accurate information and minimising the spread of rumours and conspiracy theories is vital to supporting the public during a time of crisis. News media outlets and social media platforms should play complementary roles in this process: news media must try to ensure that correct information is disseminated, and social media platforms should be more vigilant in preventing bots and propagandists from flooding online platforms with misinformation. The role of independent, nuanced and responsible journalism has never been more important—and yet there’s a growing distrust of mainstream media’s reporting on terror. This stems from Trumpian rhetoric and accusations of fake news, as well as from public perceptions of media bias when reporting on attacks.

It is important for our security experts to remain vigilant. The reduction of misinformation and the accurate use of terrorist terminology relating to events, foiled plots and threats will not detract from the overall objective of public protection but rather will strengthen and focus this goal. Clear information and a common focus on ensuring accurate information is disseminated can be complemented by the accurate and honest acknowledgment of the real threat and the due recognition of the excellent job which the security industry has done to date to abate attacks and minimise the potential for any future events.”

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Buhari

Hate speech: Buhari govt has no plan to ‘muzzle media’ – Lai Mohammed

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The Federal Government on Thursday assured Nigerians that the hate speech bill was not aimed at “muzzling the media.”

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, explained that the hate speech bill won’t stop Nigerians from criticizing the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Speaking with Guild of Corporate Online Publishers, GOCOP, in Abuja, Mohammed insisted that the bill was targeting those spreading fake news and purveyors of hate in the country.

According to the Minister, Nigerians can criticize the Buhari administration because its part of democracy but purveying hate speech won’t be tolerated.

He said: “Again, the fear of stifling free speech or muzzling the media is totally unfounded. We have no such plan. As we speak, people are on social media criticizing the Administration. We have no problem with that because it is part of democracy.

“People are using traditional media to criticize the administration. Why not? This is a democracy and there should be a plurality of opinions. But our concern has to do with the abuse of social media by those who are bent on spreading fake news and hate speech, and the dangers inherent in that for our national peace and unity. We have no hidden agenda.

“As I have said many times, no responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to dominate its media space, because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration.

“Finally, and for the avoidance of doubt, while we welcome robust debate on this issue, the criticisms in certain quarters will not stop us from going ahead with our efforts to sanitize the social media space. It is the right thing to do in the circumstances. And we are not alone in doing this. Countries around the world are as concerned as we are, and they are doing something about social media. The list is long: Germany, UK, Singapore, China, South Korea, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, etc.”

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