Hate Speech Military won't make arrests for social media comments - Enenche

The military is not screening social media for hate speech according to the Director of Defence Information.

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The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche play

The Director, Defence Information, Maj.-Gen. John Enenche

(Punch)
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The military has dismissed reports it would arrest promoters of hate speech on social media, stressing that it does not have the power to do so.

This was disclosed by Director of Defence Information, Major-General John Enenche, while he was speaking on Sunrise Daily on Channels Television, on Wednesday, August 30, 2017.

He said the military's monitoring of the media is only to get information for threat analysis, and has nothing to do with monitoring hate speech on social media as has been reported.

He said, "There was nothing like that. We do not have power to arrest people for hate speeches. It is just false assertion, against the military, and against my humble self that I said that we will be arresting people or checkmating people.

"The military is not going to be monitoring hate speeches. Did I tell you hate speech in your recordings? We have a strategic media centre, our strategic media centre monitors the media, simple. And it is like that all over the world.

"And we take that because it helps us to transform the nature of the intelligence to enable us to prepare for whatever call up we get to ensure security in this country.

"Let me tell you and tell the public without fear of anybody; we are trained to do threat analysis of anything that would threaten the security of this country.

"So, it is part of our threat analysis. Any person can interpret it to mean that it is a follow up to the speech of the Vice-President (Yemi Osinbajo), the then-Acting President and then the Minister of Interior (Abdulrahman Dambazau); then that person can be right.

"Where do we take instruction from, where do we get information from? But on the whole, it is part of what is called threat analysis."

Social media users kicked up a storm last week when Maj-Gen. Enenche revealed that the military has strategic media centres  to screen anti-government activities on the internet.

Describing social media as "a double-edged sword" in an interview with Channels TV on Tuesday, August 22, he said the military will be monitoring activities that might be deemed as fostering disunity in the country.

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He said, "We have our strategic media centres that monitor the social media to be able to sieve out and react to all the ones that will be anti-government, be anti-military, (and) be anti-security.

"We tackle them appropriately with appropriate responses. Ahead of that, we are also proactive. We have measures in place, scientific measures to be able to sieve this information and also to get the public and let them know that some of this information they are getting is not genuine are not true and their objective is an anti-corporate existence of this country."

His words echoed those of President Muhammadu Buhari in his national address on Monday, August 21, as he expressed displeasure at social media comments that "crossed our national red lines by daring to question our collective existence as a nation."

The president promised to crack down on anything that disturbs the unity of the country, saying that it is "settled and not negotiable."

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