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Nigeria military monitors social media

Nigeria military monitors social media

A Nigerian digital rights organisation, Paradigm Initiative has called for caution following an announcement by the director of the Nigerian Army's Defence Information that the pattern of local social media use is being monitored.

In response to the disclosure by Maj. Gen. John Enenche, while being interviewed on Channels television, Paradigm Initiative expressed concern over the development and has called on 'defenders of digital rights' to heed the call.

"We contend that all measures taken to safeguard the security of Nigerians must also, by default, protect their digital rights such as privacy and freedom of expression online," stated the Paradigm Initiative, adding that the development could be connected to the recent pronouncement by the Vice President that hate speech will soon be considered an act of terrorism.

In the televised interview, Enenche said the military have set up "strategic media centres that monitor the social media to be able to sieve out and react to all the ones that will be anti-government, be anti-military, (and) be anti-security."

He also explained that the idea is to get the public to know more about the validity of some of the information they get through the platforms.

However, Paradigm Initiative is concerned that the defence authority is yet to denounce a re-run of the same message through a Twitter handle @DefenseMonitor, which is supposedly the Defence HQ's official account. This is despite the handle having been described as fake by the Presidential Office for Digital Communications.

Paradigm Initiative's Executive Director Gbenga Sesan, adds: "More troubling is the inability of the Defence Headquarters in following the Presidential Office for Digital Engagement in denouncing the tweets by @DefenseMonitor – tweets which essentially echo the sentiments of the Director of Defence Information. Merely disowning the twitter handle is not enough, the military must assure us by its words and actions that it does not share the sentiment expressed by the suspended twitter handle."

Though Paradigm Initiative notes that it awaits more information on the situation, it maintains that the digital rights of Nigerians must be respected irrespective of any security measure implemented by the government.

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