The Federal Government says it has commenced the process of injecting sanity into the social media space to prevent it from setting the nation on fire.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.
“As a matter of fact, we have already put in motion the machinery for this.
“We have written letters to the major stakeholders who would nominate representatives and we are going to sit down together to decide on how best to confront this menace,’’ he said.
The minister noted that the government had the responsibility to keep the country together, therefore, social media would not be left alone to destabilise the nation.
He said the government welcomed the debate that had followed the decision and announcement to sanitise the social media space and the airwaves.
“We are glad about the criticism because what we set out to achieve is to bring the matter to the front burner of discourse.
“We are not under any illusion that the people will take this hook line and sinker.
“We are, however, glad that there are more people who believed that the social media poses imminent danger to the unity of Nigeria, especially as they have become merchants of fake news and hate speech,” he said.
The minister noted that those who had opposed the regulation of the social media had not denied the fact that the platform was being used by purveyors of fake news and hate speech with grave consequences.
“Their concern largely, which is unfounded is that it might lead to the stifling of the freedom of press or gaggling the media.
“However, we want to make it clear that it is not our intention to do this.
“The only people who are afraid of the decision to sanitise the social medi and the airwaves are the purveyors of hate speech and fake news.
“It must be put on record that Nigeria is not the only country that is doing something about this, Germany, Egypt, Russia, India and the UK are all doing something about regulating the social media platform,’’ he said.
Mohammwd expressed concern that the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and other media professional bodies, that were supposed to support the regulation were kicking against it.
“This is amusing, because they should be glad as they are the one we are protecting.
“The honest truth is that the established, well trained professional journalists do not indulge in fake news and hate speech because they have regulatory bodies already.
“The NUJ has regulatory body and Code of Conduct and they are largely not the one responsible for the dissemination of fake news and hate speech.
“I am therefore, really surprised that such criticism is coming from them because they are the people we are protecting and they are the ones that will benefit the more from the government action,’’ he said.
The minister reiterated that no amount of criticism and opposition would stop regulation of the social media and the air waves.
“We heard all kinds of threat, some even went as far as calling for the removal of the minister.
“Let me assure them that the minister is not perturbed by this and we are focused.
“No amount of intimidation, sponsored articles in any form is going to stop us from regulating the social media.
“This is not just a menace to the government, many people have committed suicide because their reputation have been destroyed by the social media,’’ he said.
The minster reiterated that the government would neither gag the media nor stifle the freedom of speech in regulating the media platforms.
On the regulation of the media waves, Mohammed said he would receive recommendations on the implementation process in few days from the committee he recently inaugurated.
He said they had also received a lot of attacks from some critics that the intention was nothing but an attempt to gag the media and stifle free speech.
“Again, our answer to this is simple. Under our watch, hate speech will not become free speech.
“Let me say once again that only those who are purveyors of fake news and hate speech have things to fear from these recommendations,’’ he said.
According to the minister, the regulation of both the social media and the airwaves is in the national interest.
…As Irona Inaugurates Committee
Committee for the organization of the planned Security Summit for the oil producing Local Government Areas of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta in Imo State has been inaugurated, even as October 25, 2019 is fixed for the event.
Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona, who inaugurated the Committee in his office Thursday afternoon, urged them to justify the confidence reposed in them.
He explained that the State government approved a Security Summit for the two Oil Producing Local Government Areas in order to interact with stakeholders on nagging security challenges in the area.
The Deputy Governor condemned the continued involvement of some youth of the state in criminal activities, reiterating the commitment of the present administration under the leadership of Governor Emeka Ihedioha to make the state safe for all.
“The Imo State Government identified some flashpoints in the state. Principal among the flashpoints are Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas. Co-incidentally, that is where we have the oil facilities and installations in Imo State and the state government puts premium on the protection of oil installations in the state, while also ensuring the protection of lives and property.”
“In view of the commitment of the present administration to making Imo State safe, we are working on re-jigging the security architecture to be able to address the security challenges effectively. Prominent among the criminal activities that the present administration inherited in the area are: kidnapping, oil bunkering, banditry, rape, robbery and proliferation of arms. Most of the boys have shown the tendency to repent, while some are recalcitrant.”
“Stakeholders appealed to His Excellency, the Governor for approval to re-jig the security architecture of the area. His Excellency has graciously approved a security summit for the area and the summit is scheduled for Oct 25th, 2019. The Special Adviser to the Governor on Security, who also chairs the organizing committee has been engaging stakeholders to that effect.”
In his reaction, Chairman of the Summit Organizing Committee, Mr. Ray Nkemdirim assured the Deputy Governor of the readiness of his team to make the Summit successful, promising not to fail.
“We have a formidable team. I assure you that we shall deliver on our mandate. I thank you for the confidence reposed in us.”
Members of the Committee are: SA to the Governor on Security, Ray Nkemdirim, Imo State Deputy Commissioner of Police, in charge of Operations, Kene Onwuemelie, Nigerian Army Garrison Commander, Obinze Col. M.U. Jibo and Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Deputy Governor, Sydney Uneanya, who serves as Secretary.
Others are: representatives of the State Security Services, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency-NDLEA, Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Chairman, Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission-ISOPADEC, Magnus Obido and Managing Director of the Commission, Engr. Anthony Okwuosha.
Also in the Committee are: Chairmen, Interim Management Committees of Ohaji/Egbema and Oguta Local Government Areas, Damian Ezeru and Hilary Eberendu.
It would be recalled that a Local Organising Committee was set up for the Summit last week, with the Chairman of Imo State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, Magnus Obido as Chairman, while Senior Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Office of the Deputy Governor, Dr. Walter Duru is Secretary.
…Says, Ihedioha a Youth-Friendly Governor
Deputy Governor of Imo State, Engr. Gerald Irona has called on youth of the state to shun cultism and all forms of criminality, even as he urged them to embrace responsible life styles.
Engr. Irona who gave the advise while receiving a delegation of about one hundred youth of the state, under the aegis of Council of Imo Youths on a courtesy visit to him in his office on Tuesday, also described the Governor of Imo State, Chief Emeka Ihedioha as youth friendly.
He further described the Governor as a selfless leader, committed to partnering with critical stakeholders on the development of the state.
“We want Imo to be a reservoir of technical manpower. We are working on a databank of qualified technicians in Imo. We will challenge companies in Imo State to employ our people, as there will no longer be the excuse of absence of qualified manpower. We will be partnering with you on the rehabilitation of some of our youth that may have gone astray. We want a safe Imo where investors will come and be comfortable. We are rolling out programmes to enhance the capacity of our youth. We are interested in rehabilitating young Imo sons and daughters that have genuinely repented from criminal acts, as long as they will never return to crime. You must be good ambassadors of your families and the state. You must shun cultism and all other vices.”
“The greatest asset you can have in leadership is having a leader that is selfless. Governor Emeka Ihedioha is a selfless leader, who has no business with nepotism. Imo State is lucky to have him.”
Continuing, Irona challenged the youth to hold their leaders accountable, in order to ensure that public resources are utilized for the good of the people.
“Hold us accountable. Participate in the business of governance at all levels in the state. We are ready to partner with you to move the state forward.”
Earlier in his presentation, Special Assistant to the Governor on Youth Affairs, Engr. Rex Okoro described the Deputy Governor, Engr. Irona as a dependable leader and true friend of the youths.
He assured him of the commitment of youths of the state to the Rebuild Imo agenda of Governor Emeka Ihedioha.
Present at the meeting were Students Union Presidents and Executives of all Tertiary institutions in the state, leadership of the National Association of Imo State Students-NAISS, youth leaders from different parts of the state, among others.
Imo State will no longer be habitable for criminal elements as Imo State Governor, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha CON, has charged security agencies in the State to flush out criminals across the State.
The Governor gave the charge at an Expanded State Security Council meeting with Heads of various security agencies in the State such as Deputy Commissioners of Police, Unit Commanders, Area Commanders, DPOs and their equivalents across the security agencies in the State
He urged them to be proactive and put in place measures to contain the situation.
Governor Ihedioha harped on the importance for progress to be made in providing adequate security for citizens of the State. There is no gain saying that we cannot make progress in government without security.”
“We as the elected, derive our mandate from the people who expect us to defend them. We want to plead with you to step up your responsibilities. We are not oblivious of the fact that you all take risks but you have to fish out the bad elements so that they can stop contaminating us”, he said.
“The potentials of greatness are huge in Imo State. Some people want to run down the State but we will never let them. On my part, I will remain honest with the people as we want to use our funds to govern our state and life better for the citizens who have groaned over the past years.
“The truth is that we need resources to tackle our problems and therefore we are working very hard, day and night for our State to look good again. We have a burden and we are determined to close the gap.
Governor Ihedioha made it clear that he has a duty to work for the people of the State who elected him into office.
“The people voted for us in expectation of a positive turnaround and as such I have a mandate to provide for them roads, water and power supply. We have significantly improved our revenue generation by over 300% within the short period
He said there is enormous burden on his administration to live up to expectations which needs the support of all and sundry to overcome.
We are paying for the misdeeds, carelessness and mindless character of the past administration and we can only solve these problems ourselves.
He charged the security agencies to place priority on protecting the innocent in the State, reminding them of their responsibility to make the State safe.
“We cannot succeed in combating crime without the security agencies. What should be of concern to you are the innocent men and women who could be victims of these criminals. Let us collectively flush out the criminals in Imo State. When you punish offenders, it will serve as deterrent to others” he stated.
Special Adviser to the Governor on Security matters, Mr. Raymond Nkemdirim, who spoke after the meeting, said it provided an opportunity for the Governor and Heads of the security agencies to find lasting solutions to the increasing rate of crime in the state capital, especially at Douglas Road and other flashpoints.
A 16 point communiqué was issued at the end of the meeting which focused on proactive and effective measures to combat crime in the State.
See full text of the Communique below
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
October 2, 2019
COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE EXPANDED STATE SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING BETWEEN IMO STATE GOVERNOR, RT. HON. EMEKA IHEDIOHA CON, HEADS OF SECURITY AGENCIES IN THE STATE, DEPUTY COMMISSIONERS OF POLICE, UNIT COMMANDERS, AREA COMMANDERS, DIVISIONAL POLICE OFFICERS AND THEIR EQUIVALENTS ACROSS THE SECURITY AGENCIES IN THE STATE, HELD ON 1ST OCTOBER 2019 AT THE SAM MBAKWE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL CHAMBERS, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, OWERRI.
IT WAS RESOLVED AS FOLLOWS:
- That old methods of crime fighting
will be reviewed and replaced with
modern fighting techniques.
- That drug abuse and cultism in the
State will be effectively combated.
- That there is need for effective
multi-agency security training for
robust synergy in combating
crime in the State
- That there is need for greater
involvement of the citizenry
in the development of
strategies for mitigating crime in
- That members of the public
should be encouraged to assist
security agencies with timely
information in order to expose
criminals in the State.
- That no member of the public
will be exposed to any danger
for volunteering information to
the security agencies.
- That there should be a strong
legislation compelling hoteliers
to emplace measures to expose
criminals who lodge in their
- That most criminals in the State
are political thugs who are still
in possession of arms provided
for them by their political god-
fathers and these weapons
must be mopped up.
- That amorphous legislations
relating to traditional rulers and
town unions in the State will be
reviewed with a view to
impediments to peace and
security in the Local
- That security commanders and
their operatives must be
domiciled in their areas of
operation to be able to
effectively combat crime.
- That there should be greater
synergy among the security
agencies in the State.
- That Operation Iron Gate
launched recently by the Imo
State Government is a welcome
initiative and its full
commencement will effectively
reduce crime and criminality in
- That the various security
agencies pledged to rejig
their operational strategies
with a view to bringing an
immediate end to rising
criminality in the State
particularly Owerri Municipality.
- That Imo State Government
will provide functional
vehicles to support the
operations of security agencies
in the State.
- That Imo State Government will
ensure that security operatives
in the State are well
accommodated ; and
- That Imo State Government will
take immediate steps to
reinvigorate the operations of
security agencies in the State by
providing all necessary equipment
and facilities within available
resources for the enhancement
of lasting peace in the State
It is with gratitude to God and appreciation to
“Ndi Imo, Ndioma”, that I bring you, our greetings on the occasion of the 59th
Independence Anniversary Celebration of our great country, Nigeria.
1. This event, indeed, affords us a great
opportunity to pay glowing tributes to our founding fathers; the late Dr.
Benjamin NnamdiAzikiwe, Sir AbubakarTafawaBalewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello and Chief
ObafemiAwolowo. Here, in the South East Region, we must recall with deep
respect, our immediate post-independence leaders like:SirAkanuIbiam – the first
Governor of the Eastern Region; Dr. Michael Okpara – the regional Premier, as
well as such other great leaders as Sir MbonuOjike, Chief A. C. Nwapa, and Dr.
K.O Mbadiwe amongst others.
2. For these pioneer leaders and other nationalists
across Nigeria, there
was no sacrifice too much, nor any price too dear, to pay in the efforts to
achieve a self-governing and a sovereign motherland. Today, we are
beneficiaries of this great legacy of freedom – the tree of liberty planted and
nurtured by the sweat and, in some circumstances, the blood of courageous men
and women who resisted colonialism.
3. However, like every other great nation, Nigeria has bravely
endured the pangs of birth of an emergent nation. Indeed, at every point, our
resolve to live together as one, strong and united nation has been evident in
our courage to confront the odds and resilience to pull back from the
precipice. We rose up to the demands of liberation struggle, bounced back from
a civil war, and have kept faith with the task of nation-building. Together we
have overcome, and shall yet overcome.
4. As we take stock today, we have cause to thank God for the great progress we
have made in nation-building and the abundant human and natural resources that
we have been endowed with. Nigeria boasts
of a very energetic people, dynamic culture, beautiful landscape, bountiful
natural resources and a huge swath of rich agricultural fields, among several
5. There is, indeed, no state where these blessings
have been more evident than Imo State. I am proud to serve a state blessed with
a very dynamic, youthful, educated, hardworking and peaceful people. We are a
people with great potentials, yearning to be harnessed. Our mission as a
government, therefore, is to make our state the beacon of hope for the country
and, indeed, for the continent.
6. To this end, as we celebrate 59 years of
liberation from the clutches of colonialism, I enjoin the collective support
and sacrifices of our citizens. We are too noble a people to limit ourselves to
small aspirations. For this reason, we are engaging all Imolites to map out
strategies to harness our huge human and economic resources.
7. We will base our growth direction on a
development agenda currently being put together, known as Imo Growth and
Strategic Development Plan. This involves a 5-year Economic Blueprint for our
rebuilding process and for restoring Imo to its former glory. Accordingly, we
have taken the first sure steps by building a strong institutional framework
for Good Governance. We have adopted the ethics of Due Process in all
government transactions in keeping with national and global standards.
8. Imo State now operates the Treasury Single
Account (TSA) system which is today boosting our Internally Generated Revenues
9. The Civil Service has taken its pride of place
as the engine room for the delivery of government services. Reforms are ongoing
to improve service delivery across board, motivate the workforce and right the
wrongs inflicted on the psyche of the personnel by eight years of
10. We have embarked on a comprehensive plan of
overhauling our infrastructure which was ruined by shoddy contract awards,
quackery and entrenched policy of graft. Works are commencing shortly for the
reconstruction of 14 critical roads, both within the Owerri Township and across
11. It is important to state that we are reviewing
architecture with a view to ensuring security of lives
and properties and restoration of confidence in government.
12. We take note that we are a state blessed with a huge population of young
people with great thirst for knowledge. The least any responsible government
can do is to evolve strategies to satisfy this passion. We are therefore,
working to restore education to its place of priority as the biggest industry
in Imo State.
13. Information and Communication Technology (ICT),
we are aware, is a major driver of change and a bridge to the future. As a
result, we have reached out to some global IT firms to design and implement
programmes to inculcate IT competency and globally competitive skills in our
youths and to make Imo State the technology hub of Nigeria.
14. In another breath, there is no greater test of
development than a people’s ability to feed themselves. To this end, the
government has put all machinery in motion to harness our agricultural
potentials. Notably, Adapalm, Avutu Poultry Farm and similar establishments,
which hitherto were abandoned to rot away, are being revived for optimum
15. In an effort to expand the funding and donor
possibilities in rebuilding the state, we as a policy, have been engaging
international bilateral and multilateral partners as well as donor agencies. I
am glad to say today that these engagements are looking very prospective as
they not only now see Imo as one to do business with,
but in fact, one to support and assist. From the World Bank to the Department
of International Development to the USAID, the French development Agency, AFD,
the Commonwealth enterprise group and most recently the UNDP, all have extended
a hand in partnership to Imo State.
16. As far as luring the private sector to see Imo State as not only a
destination of choice, but an investor’s haven, we have put a lot of measures
in place. We have revamped the moribund ISIPA and set up a dedicated Ease of
doing business desk
among measures to establish the fact that Imo is open for business.
17. As you are all aware, one of the foundations of
democracy is the participation of the people, at every tier of governance, in
the choice of who governs them. We are, therefore, giving expression to
Independence by ensuring the devolution of power to the local governments.
Consequently, in no distant time, our people would go to the polls, after a
long while, for a free, fair and credible election at the local governments.
18. My good people of Imo State. I must thank you
for your resolve to change the narrative of poor governance that became the
trademark of Imo State in the immediate past. The task before us is therefore
challenging given the pillage experienced in the locust years and damage done
to our state institutions. However, things are getting better. Thanks to the
crop of patriotic and selfless Imo sons and daughters in the team, the
partnership of a very vibrant state legislature and an independent Judiciary.
Ours is a collective governance, with no organ of government, nor segment of
the population left behind.
19. As a very educated and enterprising people, I
urge us, to show forth the light by the way we carry on the duties and
responsibilities of citizenship. I appeal to us all to pray for the peace and
progress of our state in particular and our nation in general. Let us also
remember Mr. President and our leaders in our prayers. It is for this reason
that just two days ago, we committed the nation and the State to prayers at a
state service at the Assumpta Cathedral, Owerri.
20. It is also helpful that we pay our taxes, as
and when due and to ensure law and order without which no progress is possible.
I appeal to you all, to always come together in your communities to keep our
environments healthy and to make Imo clean and green again.
21. We have put our hands together on the plough of
restoration. We cannot look back. We can see the silver-lining behind the dark
clouds and with God on our side, we are building a great state and indeed, a
nation dedicated to the ideals of unity and faith, peace and progress.
22. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Long live Mr. President!
Long live Imo State!
23. Happy Anniversary and God bless you all.
Rev. Monsignor Livinus Ukah
Christians who live in today’s world always bear in mind what Jesus said “If
you want to be a disciple of mine, you must deny yourself, take up your cross
and follow me”. The political climate at Jesus time was very intense and
polarized. To work in a polarized world needs faith-filled people, strong like
Jesus to help to dismantle social structures that dislocate humanity.
how the early Christians suffered in carrying the ‘’Cross’’ dying for truth and
living amid mysteries of human life. They spoke eloquently in the midst of evil
and alienation of people. Their concerns for the people and eloquent
testimonies and lifestyles could breed explosive social discontent for those
who want to remain the same in governance and continue to oppress the people.
Governance should be therapeutic; heal people, caring for the people by making
sure that there is peace and food in the land.
know that the church is superior to the state because its authority comes from
God but the church and the state should work together because the church has
special vocation from God. So the church and the state should cooperate to
enforce more moderate, realistic and moral demands on the society at large.
church’s divine authority is immense that it can coerce a government that lacks
moral compass. The responsibilities that lie on the Christians are many and so
they must first of all be just in their lives and must confront issues of
injustices in the society. They live and liberate the oppressed. Where
secular authority violates human rights and jails people unjustly the church
must speak. Christians filled with faith must know that no power is
allowed to violate human rights or is allowed to make draconian laws that upset
God’s plan for his people .What is happening in Nigeria is atrocious,
insecurity everywhere. Muslims should cooperate with the Christians to bring
peace and justice to mankind.
has the largest population of Muslims in the world but the live in peace with
people. Why not us in Nigeria?
are called to raise their voices against injustice in the society, eliminate
injustice, reduce poverty and bring peace. They should make sure that people
are allowed to participate in the economic, political and cultural life of the
country. It is unfair for any individual to prevent one from participating in
politics. Catholic Priests are not allowed to participate in partisan politics
because of its duplicities but other churches allow their pastors to join
politics but we have never seen them perform better than ordinary politicians
in politics. We want people who can bring value to the system and create hope
for the people.
is not meant only for the elite and money bags. Human society must be regulated
properly to have harmony and avoid violence. Security of life must be assured
Christians must always use the Gospel values to sanitize the society to make
sure that social justice is maintained. Seriously, the Christians must make
sure they do not sell their rights to proclaim the values of Jesus at political
positions but speak to power that the dignity of human persons is safe-guarded
in the country for there is constant abuse of human rights all over. They should
change the unjust structures as the early Christians did and not minimize the
value of justice. Our faith should not be dormant and we should use our faith
values to fight in the social world.
faith can help to restore humanity heading to ruin. It can bring justice to
humanity by calling evil by its name.