The Presidency has called for caution in the use of social media, alleging that it sometimes promotes tribalism in Nigeria as against government’s advocacy for national unity and peace.
Speaking at the Positive Voices Campaign Project showcase in Abuja, the Senior Special Assistant to President Mohammed Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu also stressed the importance of peace in Nigeria.
Mallam Shehu stated that Nigeria had dealt with the problem of tribalism in the 1960s but unfortunately, the social media has brought back the dangerous trend. He also noted the negative impacts of violence caused by tribalism and hate speeches in places like Rwanda.
Maintaining that the Buhari-led administration has been an advocate of peace, Shehu Garba said it is important that Nigeria remains peaceful. He stressed that every Nigerian is free to live in any part of the country and cannot be threatened by any form of violence.
“President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to bring back permanent peace all over the country including Niger Delta, North-East and central part of the country.
“As a matter of fact during the All Progressives Congress campaign, he promised that Nigerians will be free to reside in any part of the country and earn a legitimate livelihood without hindrance.
“You can see that the reason for some of the programmes of government like social investment schemes is that Nigerians should be free to reside and work in any part of the country.
“Tribalism is a problem that has been with the government for a long time, it will take time to erase that,” Shehu Garba explained.
The Presidential aide further urged Nigerians to see themselves as one in order to earn their livelihood without any hindrances.
On government’s yam export plans, Shehu Garba noted that it would be a bit difficult to transit to the system that would be beneficial and meant to restructure the economy to produce for exports. Though Nigeria had been a consumer nation, he expressed optimism that the country was currently changing positively by engaging in the exportation of yams.
Shehu, therefore urged Nigerians to key into government’s initiative of exporting farm produce, adding that no country would survive if it is import-dependent. He also assured Nigerians that the country would start exporting rice before the end of 2019.
While also speaking at the 10th Jackson Annual Lecture Series recently organised by the Department of Mass Communication of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, (UNN), Mallam Garba Shehu, who is an alumnus of the department, noted that the new media posed great challenges to the traditional media.
Speaking on the topic, New media: A threat or complement to traditional media?, Shehu said that the evolution of any new media is a threat to an existing one, which is why media professionals rarely enthusiastically welcome new entrants to the enterprise.
According to him, the advancement in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) brings about rising numbers of channels of mass communication, thereby putting power in the hands of consumers of media content. He said the contest for relevance and revenue among traditional media practitioners had never been fiercer than it is now.
The president’s spokesman, however, pointed out that the competition posed by the new media should be an opportunity for the traditional media to re-strategise and focus on harness more opportunities, stressing that traditional and new media must work in complementary fashion.
“These same channels which represent avenues for competition simultaneously represent an unprecedented opportunity. The challenge is for traditional media players to welcome these new technologies and platforms, and deploy them with a spirit of experimentation and adventure,” he said.
To achieve this, Shehu said traditional media must develop and adapt to digital applications and technologies, which would give its audiences and communities a voice in their news content.