Scooper Poll: Should FG Shutdown Internet During 2019 Elections?
Feb. 05, 2019
Misinformation and fake news characterise Nigeria during elections. As Nigeria moves closer to the general elections, starting Feb. 16, the danger of fake news is more likely, now more than ever. If the menace is left unchecked, tendency for riots by political thugs across the country is an absolute possibility; not to talk of the election being discredited altogether. Internet shutdown has been widely suggested. This way, they say, National Security can be ensured.
In Nigeria particularly, fake news has become a method of influencing public discourse and swaying opinions as we have seen played out serially.
From a bevy of fake election results flying about online during Osun elections, to bogus figures from November 28, ’18 attack on Nigerian Army by B’Haram in Metele, Borno —through to President Buhari’s body-double conspiracy.
And another case in point, two days after news of the gruesome murder of over 86 people in 11 communities across Plateau State broke on June 23, 2018, another report claimed that the killings were retaliatory and credited the statement to Miyetti Allah Chairman, Danladi Ciroma.
However, after outrage across the nation over Ciroma’s statement, a new report revealed that Ciroma had in fact been misquoted. Yet, there had already been reprisal killings in the North and East of the country.
As Nigeria moves closer to the 2019 general elections, the danger of fake news is more apparent, now more than ever.
Across the country, there are several incidents that could easily be manipulated using fake news and misinformation – which could lead to riots, lop-sided polls, discrediting of the polls in general amongst other kinds of misrepresentation.
For this reason, a number of people have begun to call on the federal government and INEC to consider a 24-hour internet shutdown as a measure against fake news and its attendant ills.
One of such advocates, is a social media influencer, Aye Dee(Mukhtar Alexander Dan’Iyan), an Africa & Middle East Public Policy and Security Expert.
The internet in should be shut down by 11:59PM on Friday, Feb. 15th, 2019 and restored by 11:59pm on Saturday, February 16th, 2019. If this is not done, there will be chaos as fake results are bound to be brandished by both @OfficialAPCNg and @OfficialPDPNig, causing chaos. In this crucial election, Nigerian cannot afford to have the electorate manipulated by rumors and propaganda emanating from both major parties.
Therefore, it makes sense to ensure the sanctity of the electoral process by restricting access to the internet. Bangladesh with a population of 160 million + shut down its internet before its elections, heaven did not fall, the poll was orderly , free and fair. Nigeria deserves same. I did not say internet should be restricted for just PDP supporters or just for APC supporters, I said it should be restricted for ALL Nigerians.
As a Nigerian, do you think Internet is a threat to National Security during the Feb. 16 Presidential Election? Should Internet Be Shutdown Or Not?