Saturday, 8 September 2012

As Cynthia Osokogu is laid to rest: Should we blame social media for her death?

The use of social media in Nigeria is increasingly coming under attack. First it was the Senate President – David Mark, then Dr. Reuben Abati in his article of 26 August 2012 – The Jonathan They Don’t Know, who attacked social media users in what he described as

"…all the cynics, the pestle-wielding critics, the unrelenting, self-appointed activists, the idle and idling, twittering, collective children of anger, the distracted crowd of Facebook addicts, the BBM-pinging soap opera gossips of Nigeria, who seem to be in competition among themselves to pull down President Goodluck Jonathan."
More recently, a lot of people have blamed the murder of Cynthia Osokogu on social media, but I beg to disagree, because I believe that the problem is that as a nation we usually fail to look at the underlying causes of our problems.

 Senator David Mark and Dr. Abati believe that social media has given people the voice to insult the president but the truth is – if the president does right, people won’t insult him. So, it is not so much about social media. Without social media, they will insult him in their homes and little gatherings; social media has only given the common man a voice.

 You have probably heard about ongoing debates in certain states in the US about whether or not people should be allowed to carry guns openly especially given the increased killings on campuses and cinemas. I found a particular lady’s response to Al Jazeera on the issue quite thought-provoking. Her response was –

 “…guns don’t kill people. People kill People.’’

Her response sum-up my viewpoint very nicely.

In every situation, we should look to the underlying problems. Cynthia wasn’t killed because she made friends on social media … she was killed because she met some wrong guys. Like a lot of undergraduates who leave campus with friends or even Pimps to meet strangers on the promise of things as trivial as a Blackberry, Cynthia could have met her killers through a friend.

Back in the day we had pen-pals most of who we had never met. Having a pen-pal was cool. We exchanged letters with them and as a matter of fact, it was encouraged by parents and teachers. Having a pen-pal is pretty much the same as meeting someone via social networking sites in present day. I however don’t recall any records of someone who got murdered by a pen-pal. The bottom-line is that greed, violence, rape, homosexuality, incest, and various forms of immorality are on the rise.

Cynthia was laid to rest yesterday, and as we condole with the Osokogu family, the questions we should ask ourselves are – How can we better protect our young ones? How can we reduce violence and the increasing immorality in our society?

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