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Nigeria: Social media-a double edged sword

01 October 2012

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In the aftermath of the killing of a Nigerian lady by 'online friends' educationists engage in a robust debate on the dangers of an unrestricted internet amongst the youths.

It was a story reminsiscent of most late night horror thrillers. Its denouement was no less shocking and tragic. A youthful pretty lady makes friends on the internet and instantly meets friends who are thousands of miles away. This is the beginning of an exciting friendship fraught with uncertainties ,but yet budding with immense possibilities yearning to be explored by the youths ,begins slow paced but soon quickens. The sad end to the tale gives no credit to the endless benefits one of the players was looking forward to.

Four young men, 33-year-old Okwumo Nwabufo; 23-year-old Ezike Olisaeloka; 32-year-old Orji Osita and 25-year-old Maduakor Chukwunonso became the tragic progenitors in the sordid tale. 25 year old Cynthia Osokogu, daughter of an army general ,became the unfortunate victim in a macabre tale that acted out in the city of hopes and unfulfilled aspirations, Lagos. The online friendship which had brought smiles to thousands of other youths around the world, ended in a remote hotel room somewhere in the heart of the nation's former capital.

The Police say the defendants along with some others still at large, raped and robbed the deceased of valuables that included an international passport, a mobile phone, bags, wristwatches and jewellery. This was ,of course, after they were alleged to have 'with intent to harm, did unlawfully cause an obnoxious substance known as Rohypnol Flunitrazepam tablets to be administered on Cynthia Osokogu Udoka against her consent and caused her grievous harm...rohypnol Flunitrazepam tablets was applied via a Ribena fruit juice drink, binding her hands with chain, padlocked and taped her legs, neck and mouth with cellotape, giving her fist blows all over her body, giving her several human bites, tortured and strangled her to death."

The story has, of course, generated anguish in the victim's family, outrage in the media, shock in a nation not totally alienated to violence against women, frenetic statements amongst the nation's security agencies, an equal frenzy in government circles and uproar on the internet. But more agonizing is the debate amongst educationists and parents who all agree that the internet world was posing a threat to the nation's youth, but are unable to come to any form of agreement on how its use can be monitored so that such sordid tales will not be the order of the day.

A parent, Hajiya Binta Audu (not actual name) speaks passionately on the ills the internet is generating amongst the youths, and calls on stringent measures to be applied to curtail its use amongst the productive segment of the nation. 'Which parent would not be appalled by the death of the young lady? It is horrible. Nothing can explain away the actions of the young men who carried out this heinous act. But that is what the internet has been turned into. Its use needs to be monitored by the authorities, so that such things do not happen again.'

While a cross section of educationists agree on the dangers posed by the internet to the average youth, they have their own opinions on how its use could be made beneficial, rather than injurious.

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Global Goals 2030
festival ECONOMIA trento
Helpi - your personal safety app
» Online climate conference
Online,  November 5, 2012.
» Open Knowledge Festival 2012
Helsinki, Finland,  September 17,2012.
» ITU Green Standards Week
39, quai du Président Roosevelt 92130 Issy-les-Moulineaux, France,  September 17

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