Nigeria government launches attack against bloggers

bloggers

The Nigerian government has just launched a “$5 million war” against bloggers and online news media such as Sahara Reporters.

Three security sources, who are privy to the plan, revealed that Yar’adua last week approved the covert operation to stop websites and bloggers from influencing public opinion in Nigeria. The president’s Chief Economic Adviser, Tanimu Kurfi will source the funds for the operations.

On the one hand this is good news as the Nigerian government wakes up to the power of citizens media and that we are watching  and reproting on their every step.  On the other hand this is very dangerous for bloggers in the country and those outside who may wish to return home whether for a short holiday, work or permanently.  We are all very much aware of what happened to two bloggers  [Jonathan Elendu and Emeka Asiwe]   last year who were met and detained by security officials as they landed at Abuja airport.

The plan by the government which sounds like something out of a spy movie [maybe there is much truth in those films] is to recruit ’700′  Nigerians at home and abroad to ‘blog’ favorably about the President and his government.  And like government agents world wide these people will be paid, in this case given “blogger allowances”.

“The government has decided to mobilize a few individuals to set up online forums that promise to extend the frontiers of online journalism,” said a security source. He added that, in the initial stages, these websites would release a few detailed and seemingly credible stories calculated to garner credibility for them as well as a wide readership. “But the ultimate objective is to fully divert the websites to the task of acting as attack dogs for the government’s online critics,” said a source. She added that the government plans to fund and roll out about 50 of such new websites between now and the beginning of serious campaigns for the next round of elections scheduled for 2011. ‘

So what do we genuine bloggers do?  First of all we will need be on the look out  for these enemies of the people!.  If you are a blogger writing lovely things about Yar’Adua  and Goodluck, then it is possible you will be seen as a government ‘plant’ which is unfortunate as there just might be some deluded but genuine supporters of this most undemocratic of regimes.  It is the pretense of democracy that is dangerous about this and the government of Obasanjo.  It is therefore up to us bloggers and news sites to expose the lie of Nigeria as a democratic state with a free press. It is not.  A government which sends out tanks and bombers on its own people is not a democratic govenrment.  A government which sends out solidiers to attack the people and denies summary exeuctions by its armed forces  which we all have witnessed on video is not democratic.  What we do have  is a corrupt government which is determined to dispossess the Niger Delta people of their resources and human rights.

Just as in Choba when pictures of solidiers raping women were denied by Obasanjo so too the army chooses to deny the excutuion of two young men.  Would justice have not been better served if the army had chosen to investigate the exeuction by the JTF?   Below is the response by the Nigeria Army Public Relations Unit to the video.

It has come to the knowledge of the Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Restore Hope, that MEND, due to its failure in the use of violence and previous attempts in denting our names which equally failed, has embarked on yet another campaign of calumny against the security outfit and its commanders by circulating constructed and acted video clips to Read Moredepict rape and extra-judicial killings by the JTF in the Niger Delta. These concocted clips are now being forwarded to international figures for sympathy, while the media they were using hitherto, are no longer sympathetic to their cause due to the criminality and campaign of calumny of this faceless body,” Abubakar. Col. Rabe Abubakar Commander Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Restore Hope

MEND [Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta] have called upon the UN to investigate the alleged extra-judicial killings and rape by the JTF during the recent miliatry operations Oporoza and other communities of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Delta State.

12 thoughts on “Nigeria government launches attack against bloggers”

  1. Absolutely – as soon as someone starts defending them we will all know this person is probably a full up member of the Nigerian government blog squad.

  2. Does this not illustrate just how dire things have become? The callousness of the Nigerian government towards the country’s own denizens is indicative of an almost total loss of common-sense and good judgement. That the JTF could even so brazenly deny and attempt to distort the truth about that video, which by the way the whole world has now seen, is clear proof that the government in Nigeria has completely lost touch with reality, apparently having been blinded by the sheer lust for more and more oil money. What any reasonable person would expect is some kind of action being instituded against those soldiers whose unquestionably viscious crime was absolutely caught on tape. This is the only way in which any kind of faith could begin to be established in the Nigerian government. But no, instead what we have is a sorry attempt at a denial, almost reminiscent of Goebbels and his Nazi propangada.

    I can think of no right thinking Nigerian who will even consider blogging in favour of the current Nigerian government. But having said that, the reality is that not everyone is right thinking. So it wouldn’t really surprise me..
    .-= anengiyefa´s last blog ..Chryseobacterium greenlandensis =-.

  3. Hello,

    This is an interesting development, but what they fail to realise is we abroad have just as much a stake in Nigeria as those at home.

    If they were doing well, there would be no reason for us to seek flaws and criticism where there is none.

    We seek the best of Nigeria because as ambassadors in our little way we get asked about events in Nigeria, it would just be plain stupid to butter up the stark realities and as sycophants bless everything our government does as benefactors when they are wrong.

    When you stifle objective criticism and employ praise-singers who publish lies to raise your profile, you are caught in hubris and megalomania – all the more for us to expose the fact that the government is concentrating on spin when it should doing the government of substance.

    This would fail completely and leave a lot of the protagonists as clowns with egg on their faces and that is not the laughable part of this stupid scheme.

    Regards,

    Akin
    .-= Akin´s last blog ..Twitter and my other social networks =-.

  4. A@nengiyefa@ Akin@ There actions speak for themselves – Just as they wrongly and stupidly believe they can silence people’s desire for justice and equity with guns so too this plan is doomed to failure. There is no vision, no sense in failing to take on board people’s criticisms. We have two years before the next election – two years in which Nigerians have the chance to end this downward spiral.

  5. “The government has decided to mobilize a few individuals to set up online forums that promise to extend the frontiers of online journalism,” I think this is an excellent move. What is wrong with the FGN fighting back with funding for bloggers? Now you know why mainstream media is not dead but loosing the battle of the news. Everyone has become a publisher and the truth within one’s region always has two sides. Of course we should play with the new blogs, but online credibility difficult to obtain is easy to loose. Just ask President Yahya Jammeh of Gambia and his one man government.

  6. You claimed that “Yar adua approved the operation”. But that assertion contradicts what you so called bloggers have been feeding the public ie Yar adua has been in coma and on life support. If he was in coma how could he have approved anything? Either way, it is obvious that you guys have been misinforming members of the public. Idiots.

  7. Because if you care to read the post properly you will see it was written way before Yar'Adua disappeared into a coma. If you wish to comment here again please refrain from abusive language otherwise your comment will not be approved.

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