BY ESTHER AKPOTOWHO
The advent of various social media platforms such as facebook and twitter has made the world a global village. There is no arguing the fact that the freedom Nigerians are wielding in their use of these platforms has given them the credence to exercise one of their rights of freedom of expression.
This freedom as enshrined in section 39 (1) of the 1999 constitution which states thus: Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”
Although every Nigerian has the right to express opinion on certain matters, this right is limited by the constitution banning libel and slander. While trying to communicate your feelings to people irrespective of their social status, it is important that their feelings are put into consideration to avoid contravening their rights to be heard.
In recent times, Nigerians have wasted no time to vent their pent up anger on the government whenever an issue of national discourse becomes trendy. Against this backdrop the government decided to enact laws banning hate speech. This is in a bid to reduce the rate at which some people take undue advantage of the freedom to access the internet to spread false information that is capable of inciting public uproar.
Although, the law banning hate speech generated a plethora of reactions from Nigerians with human right organizations and activists being in the frontline, it is important that in a bid to make the necessary comments on the affairs of the country, the right information and details are gathered so that constructive criticism will be done without inciting any dramatic uproar.
It is a truism that as it is with the average human being, the Nigerian government seems to be wary of criticisms and prefers to be surrounded by praise singers who are ready to sweep anomalies under the carpet. Consequently, the government may begin to consider those who criticize their alien polices when Nigerians at individual levels begin to accept criticisms as one way to make adjustments that will encourage the making of right decisions that will be beneficial to all.
Recently, a video was released by a onetime Senator of Nigeria, Senator Dino Melaye. He was responding to reports of incessant abuses from Nigerians on twitter.
The man, contrary to his personality which would have seen him ranting and sending back the arrows of insults to his critics, settled to a plate of spaghetti and efo riro. He was amused and cared less of the purported insults meted out to him on twitter.
As ridiculous as his reaction may be, it is believed that his reaction should be the attitude of Nigerians, especially those who are so serious minded that they are ready to absorb every word they hear and become hysterical, going gaga and throwing tantrums.
Senator Dino Melaye’s video drew various degrees of reaction from his followers on twitter. While some saw his reaction as childish, others praised him for taking life with a sense of humour due to the brevity of life. After all, talk is cheap and we are all entitled to our opinion.
What is your take on Senator Dino Melaye? Share your views with us.