Social Media: A Threat to National Unity- By Mohammed Chiroma Hassan

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The breeze in the atmosphere could have been sweet and lovable for everyone around the globe if at all human nations recognize the wisdom behind the diversity in human race; languages, geographical locations, skin complexions, tribes, cultural and religious affiliations among others. 
Mohammed Chiroma Hassan CITAD Program Officer.

Thus, with this multiplicity of diverse nations on earth – conflict is unavoidable but what matters in this case is the way CONFLICT is addressed and this could either be violent or peaceful conflict and understanding differences paves a way for peaceful resolutions.

Even though violent conflict exists far back in history of human existence, but it is now on the rise due to so many reasons, among which include: poor governance, lack of adherence to the rule of law, lack of inclusiveness in governance, clash of interest and advent of social media, among others.

Violence starts with each of us. Our differences – beliefs, values, and backgrounds – lead to conflict. That’s natural. It’s when we respond to these disagreements with anger, fear, or even hatred that we’ve started down a destructive path. Like prejudice, these violent ways of thinking are at the root of physical and social violence.  (Search for Common Ground, n.d.).
It is obvious that social media remain the most popular medium that gives room for fast information dissemination; positive or negative across the globe with just some few CLICKS due to its accommodating attributes such as affordability, portability, mobility, and usability among others.
Undoubtedly, social media can be seen as the most widely accepted technological invention in the 21st century. Social media is now a social communication norm in developing countries. Social media promotes positive and negative agendas. 
Globally, terrorists, separatists, political organisations, religious groups, individuals and so on are using social media to spread their information and ideas. 
In this case, Nigerian national security is under threat by the activities of Boko Haram, Fulani Headsmen, social media, Niger Delta avengers, agitation of Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) and others. Social media is an open world of communication platform with little control by the government. Boko Haram and Independent People of Biafra groups are noticeably using social media in advancing their activities. (Joshua & Chijioke, 2018).
Therefore, social media has created a window for traders of Hate to display their commodities across the globe with much ease to a large number of audience within a shortest period of time. Not just in Nigeria, Hate traders have continued to remain a thing of concern globally. Violent extremists disseminate their ideologies; Hate or Dangerous Speakers promote their activities, Identity theft, and Fake News. These have been stocking the fire of violence in the country and a very big threat to national unity of our dear country.
Generally, social media plays a very important role in the global fight against terrorism. 
In the same manner, social media can be used to fuel different kinds of terrorism and other criminal activities. Ngige (as cited in Joshua & Chijioke, 2018).
In Nigeria, while fake news and the circulation of fake images or the circulation of real images with fake captions become disconcerting issues, resulting in a number of deadly clashes, as experienced in Plateau and Benue States and this serves as living evidence that Hate and dangerous Speech is of course capable of causing a mass murder and atrocity. As revealed in (Centre for Information Technology and development [CITAD], 2018).
 Furthermore, Dangerous Speech Project is of the view that; People don’t commit violence against other groups – or even condone it spontaneously. First they must be taught to see other people as pests, vermin, alien or threat. Malicious leaders often use the same types of rhetoric to do this; in myriad cultures, languages, countries, and historical periods. (Susan, Cathy, Tonei & Sean, 2018).
Therefore, for peaceful atmosphere to be maintained, all users of social media especially influential class such as, political leaders, religious clerics and or traditional leaders must be cautioned against spread of hate and dangerous, speeches so as to desist from inciting people into violence. 
Government must also respect rule of law and ensure inclusive governance, transparency and accountability. Citizens must also shun hate and dangerous speech, act not when it is said on them and condemn the dangerous speech traders. With these, all put together social media will be a good tool for national development not a threat to national unity.
Writes by Mohammed Chiroma Hassan from Bauchi..
Reference List..

  • Centre for Information and Technology Development (2019). Challenging  the fabrics of our National Unity: Annual Hate Speech Report 2018.
  • Joshua E. C. & Chijioke F.O (2018). The Impacts of Social Media on National Security: A View from the Northern and South-Eastern Region of Nigeria. Enugu State, African Heritage  Institution. 
  • Search For Common Ground.(n.d.) Retrieved fromhttps://www.sfcg.org/the-need                        
  • Susan B., Cathy B., Tonei G & Sean M. (2018). Dangerous Speech: A Practical Guide. Retrieved from : https://www.dangerousspeechproject.org      

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