NAKED MASQUERADES OF NEW MEDIA

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By Aniebo Nwamu

Do Nigerians hate one another? Are Nigerians deeply divided by tongues? Anonymous commentators in the social media suggest that Nigeria is too far gone to be integrated. These contributors to the various Nigerian Internet forums are ceaselessly engaged in abuse and name-calling as well as hate messaging. A foreigner who sees Nigeria through the comments splashed on the Internet would think there is deep-rooted hatred of members of one tribe by members of another.

Trained media people know that press freedom also comes with responsibility. In the Internet Age, unfortunately, untrained “citizen journalists” and commentators in Nigeria are courting Decree 4 of 1984 by their comments.

Online publishers seem to be fanning the embers of hatred by failing in their duty to block comments considered rude or abusive. Yet, each medium warns contributors to desist from these or have their posts not published. Some of Nigeria’s major newspapers are most guilty of negligence in the management of their sites. Under one post, for instance, there could be 500 published comments, a third of them containing abusive words.

If, for instance, a story is on arrested armed robbers, you would often read “Yo-robbers” if the hoodlums were Yoruba people. If the robbers bore Igbo names, they became “forest people”. Some are routinely labelled “Awusa nama” for no just cause. Members of the PDP are often branded “PDPigs”, just as APC has become the acronym for “Asiwaju’s Personal Company”.

The monikers under which the culprits spread hate messages are equally revealing. While reasonable comments often come under genuine names, the most vociferous posts are sent by “Gravedigger”, “Sexy Truth”, “Utali Mmuo”, “Fisherman” or “PloyGon2013”.

Because such posts come in torrents when a story has to do with politics or politicians, it is obvious these names are used mainly by the personal assistants and special advisers hired by Nigerian politicians. They are therefore like naked masquerades: their faces are covered but other uncovered parts are revealing.
Part of the briefs of SAs and PAs is to monitor the social and mainstream media and attack opponents or defend friends.  When they see stories or comments mentioning their bosses, they come smoking under their funny monikers. Some ministers in the past administration were known to have bought cheap laptops for young graduates hired to shield them from attacks in the media.

Below are a few examples of comments in some of these media at different times. Never mind the misspellings, bad logic and bad grammar!
Isi Agwo: The dead, rotten logic by an illiterate, brain-dead serial fraudster – always concocting an easy way out of his troubles.
Mustapha Shehu: @IsiAgwo. Would you describe your father as dead and rotten? If yes ok I am not suprise you call someone’s else father as one.

Colonel Mariama (rtd): Just shut up.
Wähala: “Go tell your mommy to shut her knees”…remains my answer to your stuupidity.
Vincent Success: This is really confused and don’t even know what to do . I think he’s considering whether to … go back to sambisa n continue his terrorist activities .

Olawuwo Success Abiodun: Dumb and brainwashed fellow, I don’t know if you’re fed by GEJ,#yeyepipu.
Supo Okubajo: @ Vincent Success.. you must be a fool to think in this manner. And must be shameless to ever think of Jonathan. In normal society Jonathan suppose to be in Jail for life

StraightUp: After careful due diligence, I found out that the writer is masquerading as Igbo. He’s a bastard son of an Igbo who comes from former Osu family; former because that caste system was abolished decades ago. His lineage continues to live outside their homeland out of hatred for their origin and past societal rejection. Please disregard his vituperations. I’m sure adversaries will have a field day with his ill-conceived message of hate and disrespect for high placed public servants.

UOU: These moles and agents of darkness deserve to be stoned to death, nothing less… What a confused bunch of harlots, fraud, scam and failures that went about deceiving gullible ones that they are progressives, devilish change. This is a call for revolution, bloody revolution and all of these imbeciles must pay with their blood.

Otile: Imam Ibrahim Okorocha should be banished to Daura, far North. He does not not belong to Biafraland at all. He is always taking nonsense and making empty promises. I sorry for the good people of Imo state whom this Islamist has coned to re-elect him. Barawo.
Facebook is one sure channel that people hide behind. It however has a way of policing content like blocking further posts by an offending “friend”.  Google and others have similar checks.

The mass media were once considered capable of causing wars; in the Internet age, they seem to have become even more dangerous. Should Decree No. 4 be resurrected then? Perhaps that will make media managers become more responsible.
Though the Internet offers anonymity, security agents in western countries have a way of tracking those who breach security on the web. A user could be traced and arrested instantly. Violators from Nigeria might be having a field day now, but the web policemen could start looking in their direction anytime soon.
Please note: This is an adaptation of my contribution to an article in the current print edition of Eyeway.ng bearing the same title.

Sundiata Post to Be Unveiled

My colleague and friend, Mr Max Amuchie, will be delivered of a baby this Tuesday in Abuja: online newspaper Sundiatapost.com. The ceremony will certainly draw old and new media people to a roundtable where issues affecting the journalism profession will be discussed.

Sundiatapost.com has been around for some time. To breathe more life into the medium, Mr Amuchie recently resigned his position as managing editor at LEADERSHIP. He seemed to have followed in my footsteps, for I quit after my 50th birthday last October to co-found Eyeway.ng.

Amuchie and I have come a long way. He joined me at ThisDay 19 years ago. Three years ago, he joined me again at LEADERSHIP. Between the two papers, Amuchie and I worked as writers and editors for several other media. Today, Sundiatapost.com and Eyeway.ng are inseparable friends. I can’t wait till Tuesday to re-connect with my old friends.
aniebo@leadership.ng 0805 410 0220 (sms only)
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