The Nigerian military on Tuesday warned against the dangers of social media induced hate speech to national security and development of the country.
The Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar bemoaned the use of social media to spread falsehood and promote hate speeches in Nigeria, arguing that such trend has the potential of igniting crisis.
Abubakar stated this while declaring open the 2017 Conference of the Nigerian Air Force Directorate of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI) and the unveiling of booklets and posters on the fight against terrorism at the Air Force Headquarters, Abuja
He said: “We are all not unaware of the use of the social media by some elements to spread falsehood, in addition to promoting hate speeches, violence, anarchy and confusion in the society, as recently identified by the federal government.
“The message of hate and violence does not augur well for the development of our dear nation and I therefore implore all relevant stakeholders to continue to focus on the use of the social media to inform, educate and entertain, as originally intended,” the Air Force Chief stated.
Abubakar held that the media have become one of the most powerful force in modern times, noting that the unveiling of the booklets and posters on the fight against terrorism was to demonstrate that air men and air women are fighting Boko Haram so that Nigerians live in peace and ensure that Nigeria is secured.
The air force chief who described the theme of the conference as apt, noted that in modern times, the media has become an instrument of power that transcends national boundaries and governmental influence.
He maintained that the roles of the media in the fight against insurgency cannot be over emphasised, adding that this informed the attention accorded to the Directorate of Public Relations and Information, especially on capacity building and providing enabling environment for their operations to flourish.
Abubakar said: “I must say that I had since come to appreciate the role that the Directorate of Public Relations and Information plays in projecting the image of the Nigerian Air Force as well as projecting the truth, in a timely manner, especially in moments of crisis.
“It is thus in recognition of this onerous role that my administration has given special attention to the directorate in terms of providing the basic working tools it requires, training and the enabling environment to flourish.
“Now to all the Nigerian Air Force Public Relations and Information officers and airmen and airwomen, as the saying goes, to whom much is given, much more is also expected.
“I therefore urge you all to realise that you have the responsibility to live up to expectation by building your capacities, as individuals, and as a body. That, of course, is the only way to remain relevant in the scheme of things, as you cannot afford to be left behind.
NAF Chief of Administration, Air Vice Marshal, L S Alao commended the air Chief for the enormous assistance towards ensuring that the Air Force is repositioned.
The conference has as its theme, ‘Social Media in Modern Public Relations Practice,’ and was the first since 2012 with participants drawn from various departments within the air force. (THISDAY)