Friday, June 18, 2021 8:20 am
By Babafemi Ojudu
I am a journalist of about three decades experience. Joined many other colleagues and compatriots to fight for press freedom and free speech. I am however distraught the way this is abused now in Nigeria. Anyone can pick his phone now and post untrue and silly information about anyone without any penalty. They are doing it against the nation as well pitching one ethnic group against the other . They are destroying family bonds and hacking at bond that ties the nation together. People, both ignorant and informed are lapping up this rubbish and digesting making up their mind about people and institutions based of falsity.
I woke up early this morning to receive the post below from several of our people abroad to justify insecurity in Nigeria and the breakdown of law and order. “Oh if this could happen to a popular Yoruba akewi Nigeria has become a failed state”, one of them posted.
I was concerned and began to search for further information on this. I was told Mr Femi Salako who posted the story initially is a popular Akure based blogger with a substantial following. Efforts to reach him to find out the veracity of the story was unsuccessful. I eventually got across to Mr Kunle Ologundudu, the subject of this fake story . He spoke to me ‘from the dead’ and said he is hale and hearty and had no incident with gunmen. He said he has been inundated with calls from home and abroad since 2.00 am.
Now you can see how the so called citizen journalists have been setting the country on fire and giving it a very bad and horrendous image. Lies are their trade and scaremongering and hysteria are their trade mark. While practicing journalism actively we used to refer to such people and their fake trade as ‘agbeleko’, that is ‘sit at home and fabricate’. They neither seek nor verify information. They are evil minded people out to deceive and cause chaos in society.
I am now a convert to the view that something has to be done with social media. It cannot continue this way. There must be a regulation of a sort, if not we may wake up one day and a fake story will set the nation on fire.
-Senator Babafemi Ojudu is a Special Adviser on Political Matters at the Presidency