CSOs, Experts, Stakeholders Proffer Ways Forward For Better Social Media Usage In Nigeria

NEWS DIGEST – Civil Society Organizations, experts and stakeholders have made recommendations towards better use of social media in Nigeria and the African continent.

The stakeholders stated their position at the just concluded Pan-African social Media summit held on Saturday at Roses Regency hotel in Abuja, the Nigerian Capital City.

The event had the theme “social media as a tool for media advancement , socio-economic development and Digital economy”.

Speaking at the event, the Executive Director of CITAD who also doubles as the Chairman of the event, Yunusa Yau, noted that the role of the social media in the society has become more important especially with current day realities, he however expressed worry that despite the position of the United Nations on internet being accessible for all, the legislators and government in Nigeria are out to control it. He stated that the instance of Twitter ban highlights such development, he noted also that instead of banning Twitter, the government should have opined on better ways to use the platform.

He stated that the discussion on social media usage in Nigeria continues to play a pivotal and key role in the age and times of the country.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Image Merchant Promotions Limited, Yushau Shuaib while weighing in on the theme noted that since all other medias are regulated in the country, there is a need to regulate the platform so as to ensure more appropriate use, he stated that it is improper to allow indiscriminate use of social media platforms which endangers the existence and peace of the country. Yushau, a global award winning Public Relations expert also shared ways to verify fake news, use social media appropriately to delegates at the summit.

He spoke also on Social media influencers and Nigerian Unity, highlighting role played by social media users with large followers in spread of fake news and propaganda and need to ensure a control to this misuse.
Executive director of CISLAC, Auwal Rafsanjani, however noted that the social media helps to democratize the country unlike traditional media houses being controlled by the government; he stated that the freewill to use the social media should not be up for governmental control.

Speaking at the event, Chief Executive Officer of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Honorable Abike Dabiri-Erewa who was represented by the Chief Information Officer of the commission, Violet Nwosu, stated that the social media has become an important tool for diaspora and international projection of the country, she urged that the social media be used as a tool to project the success story of Nigerians at the international level and also as a tool for diaspora integration.

The Association of Nigerian Authors President, Camillus Ulah, represented by the Abuja Chairman of the Association, Taiwo Akerele, charged the government to listen to the plight of Nigerians many of which are anchored via the social media, he expressed concern over the gag on the platform which serves as a tool for change. Speaking in same vain, the editor of Youthsdigest, Gidado Shuaib noted that while there has been many clamor for regulation of the social media, the government of the country cannot be the one to do such regulation
Lekan Otufodunrin who is the executive director at Media Career Development Services Network noted that it is harsh for the government to throw away the baby and birth water, referring to suspension of Twitter in the country, he opined that efforts should be made to ensure better promotion on use of the social media.

“If there are clamors for regulation of the platform, the question remains who is the going to regulate it, the government of the day cannot be the one because even without the regulation of social media, they are already regulating us by force”. He recommended more awareness on proper use of the social media while urging Nigerians to go beyond social media to ensure real change.

Alibob Cinwon, who is the organizer of the National Youth Dialogue, also noted that the ban on Crypto-currency in the country would not serve an accurate purpose, he noted that there is a need for the government to align themselves with technological advancement including training on proper use of social media than to ignore the importance especially in the quest for a digital economy.
In his words “If we fail to integrate technology appropriately, it will integrate itself and pass us by”

The special assistant to the Minister of Youth and Sports on ICT and Corporate Relations, Kemi Ann Areola stated that the social media has been used wrongly most times by Nigerians while urging that an appropriate use of the social media be encouraged, she noted that there are more opportunities on social media than cyber bulling and at such more efforts must be made to make Nigerians aware of these.

Other speakers including the founder of Marian Mobile Health foundation, Marian Egbis also harped the importance of the social media.

A social media awareness campaign was launched at the event with the aim to teach more Nigerians on better use of the social media and ensure its use for societal development.

The launching which was led by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) Executive Director Yunusa Yau, also had CISLAC Executive Director Auwal Rafsanjani, Chief Executive Officer IMPR Yushau Shuaib among other distinguished personalities.

The Pan-African Social Media Summit which started in 2016 as Nigerian Social Summit is in its sixth year, the event was also streamed on Zoom and Facebook platforms respectfully.

The summit which is hosted by Techmirror Magazine was sponsored by Centre for Information Technology and Development, Penlight New Media Center and Media Career Development Network among other partners.