BY: Igbagboyemi Oladele
A Lawyer and human rights activist, Mr. Festus Keyamo SAN has observed that electronic media have taken over as "number one weapon" to fight insecurity in Nigeria and around the world.
Keyamo stated that electronic media had been expanded beyond traditional radio and television to encompass social media, which according to him, commands largest followers in the world.
The legal practitioner spoke on Tuesday in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital while delivering a lecture at a programme in commemoration of the 2017 World Television Day celebration.
The programme organised by the Broadcast Journalists' Association of Nigeria (BJAN) themed "Impact of Electronic Media on Governance and Political Economy in Nigeria."
He described the new media as fastest platform of sending and receiving information that could be explored by security agencies to track down criminals in shortest possible time, a position the Commissioner of Police in Ogun, Ahmed Iliyasu supported.
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria, however, warned Federal Government against curtailing the use of social media, but added that purveyors of abusive and inflammatory comments should be brought to book.
Keyamo also noted the social media have strengthened citizens' power to hold government accountable and participate actively in governance.
He maintained that the aborted move by the National Assembly to pass Social Media Bill would have amounted to "using sledge hammer to kill a mosquito."
"In fact, what we have now is what we called Social Media Republic. Electronic media have so much power. In fact the number one weapon to fight insecurity is electronic media. It makes job of the police very easy. These days, you don't need a magic before you can reach a Commissioner of Police. If any incident happens now, you can get across to the CP or DPO in one minutes. That is the power of electronic media.
"My own submission is to allow it (social media) to thrive rather than to kill it as they try to do through the Social Media Bill. People should be allowed to ventilate their views, their grievances, and their angers whenever they want, it will improve governance," Keyamo said.
The Commissioner of Police who corroborated Keyamo's views noted that the introduction of tracking system with aid of electronic devices, crime fighting has been "simplified."
Iliyasu said "Globally, you have this tracking system and the use of electronic devices in checking crimes and criminality. You will find out that with the introduction and it's facilitation by the Inspector General of Police we have been achieving a lot in tracking down high-profile cases across the country."
The CP commended members of the fourth estate of the realm who he described as worthy partners in fight against crime in Ogun State.
In his remarks, Governor Ibikunle Amosun admitted that journalists have kept his government on its toes and as well brought the needs of citizens to government attention.
Represented by Commissioner of Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, Amosun urged journalists to be fair and avoid infringement on individuals' rights while carrying out their professional duties.
In his welcome address, BJAN President, Kazeem Olowe noted that electronic media have played vital roles in the political and economic development of Nigeria since it inception.
Olowe assured that as body of broadcast journalists the association would continue to be peoples' advocate, promoter of truth, fairness, justice and equity.
He disclosed that the association which started with 12 members last year now boasts of more than 500 members across Nigeria.
The programme also featured awards presentation to Keyamo, Iliyasu, Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Dayo Adeneye, the Chairman of Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC) in Ogun State, Alhaji Ibrahim Olaniyan and the Chairman, DAKTAD Hotel, Abeokuta, Hon Habeeb Ajayi.