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Nigerian Army partners social media bloggers to eradicate fake news



Nigerian Army partners social media bloggers to eradicate fake news

Nigerian Army partners social media bloggers to eradicate fake news

The Nigerian Army says it is engaging social media bloggers and online journalists in the country to combat the fake news syndrome.

The Chief of Civil Military Affair, Maj.-Gen. Markus Kangye stated this at the 15th Edition of Social Media Influencers Seminar for social media bloggers and online journalists in Kaduna on Monday.

Kangye, who was represented by Brig.-Gen. Emmanuel Egbe said that the event was organised by the Department of Civil Military Affairs of the Nigerian Army in collaboration with Security Affairs Limited.

The newsmen said that the event has as its theme, “Civil-Military Relations: The Evolving Role of the Social Media in Support of Nigerian Army’s Non-Kinetic Line of Operations”.

He said that cyberspace was the latest domain of modern warfare, adding that social media present a veritable tool in influencing and shaping public opinion, critical in deciding the outcome of battles.

He said that the interactive session was organised to provide an opportunity to freely interact, discuss, share ideas, and rub minds particularly towards the eradication of fake news syndrome.

According to him, security is everybody’s business, stressing that social media bloggers and online journalists have a very important role to play in the promotion of peace and security in the country.

“This is because what you say, the way you say it and how it spreads have far reaching implications than most of us think.

“As such, social media has a very crucial role to play in support of the Nigerian Army’s non-kinetic line of operations as well as shaping public opinion.

The chief of civil military affairs said that there was so much that social media can do in support of Nigerian Army operations across the country.

“For instance, the recent surrendering of Boko Haram insurgents and their humane reception by the Nigerian military has been perceived negatively by the online community, and by extension Nigerians.

“However, these developments ought to be a testimony of the effectiveness of the efforts put in place by the military to defeat insurgency.

He said that tackling insecurity generally involves the use of kinetic and non-kinetic approaches.

He said that the approaches were complementary, stressing that encouraging criminals to surrender does not mean they would evade prosecutions for crimes committed.

“Therefore, it is necessary for social media bloggers and online journalists to know and enlighten the populace on the dangers of misinformation or misinterpretation for the general security of our dear nation,” he said.

Kangye said that the Nigerian Army is making giant strides in the fight against terrorism, insurgency, banditry, and other forms of criminality in the country.

He, however, pointed out that such efforts are always under-reported, thereby undermining the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of selfless soldiers at tackling insecurity.

He added that conversely, most media houses prefer to propagate sensitive reportage that scares and attracts negative attention rather than headlines geared towards celebrating the gallantry and efforts of the Nigerian troops.

“Our media give credence to the activities of criminals as well as boost their morale and confidence to commit more crimes.

“It is my belief that our interaction and cross-fertilization of ideas will make Nigerians better informed, imbibe in us the spirit of patriotism towards the realisation of a prosperous Nigeria of our dreams.”

The Executive Director, Security Affairs, Mr Austin Peacemaker, said that the seminar was first conducted in Port Harcourt, later in Maiduguri, Owerri, Ibadan, Lagos, among other locations across the country.

Peacemaker said that the essence of the seminar was to among other things bridge the gap between the Nigerian Army and the civil populace.

“We came up with this initiative to ensure that there is a continuous dialogue in a good democracy, we believe if we talk, engage and rub minds we won’t fight or clash,” he said.


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Health and Safety

650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued



650 migrants reach Italy by boat, 190 rescued

 About 650 migrants reached the Italian coast in a fishing boat, the latest in increasing attempts to reach the country.

The boat which was about 30 metres long and overloaded, arrived in the southern town of Roccella Ionica, the Italian news agency ANSA reported on Monday.

The report said the boat departed from Libya and its passengers had been travelling for five days.

The passengers were all men who came from Syria, Pakistan, Egypt and Bangladesh, ANSA said.

They reached the Calabrian town unaided, without the involvement of the coast guard or civilian sea rescuers.

Thousands of people arrived in Italy over the weekend. Dozens of others died in the attempt or went missing because their boats capsized.

Meanwhile, the aid organisation Doctors Without Borders brought 190 Mediterranean migrants ashore to the southern Italian city of Bari.

The group’s Geo Barents vessel reached the port on the Adriatic coast previously assigned by Italian authorities late on Sunday afternoon, it said.

The ship picked up people on Friday from an unseaworthy wooden boat, including several unaccompanied minors.

However, many people repeatedly try to reach Lampedusa, Malta, Sicily or the Italian mainland by boats from Tunisia and Libya, crossing the central Mediterranean Sea in a potentially deadly journey.

According to official figures, Italy has already registered more than 21,000 boat migrants since the beginning of January, or more than three times the number of migrants seen in each of the two previous years, when about 6,000 per year arrived.

– dpa

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Health and Safety

African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown



African migrants stuck in Tunisia say racism persists, following weeks of crackdown

African Migrants in Tunisia have urged their government to evacuate them, saying the country is no longer safe as racism still persists.

Outside the United Nations refugee agency in Tunis, dozens of African migrants stood protesting this week in the temporary camp where they have lived, including with children, since authorities urged landlords to force them from their homes.

Weeks after a violent crackdown on migrants in Tunisia that triggered a perilous rush to leave by smuggler boats for Italy, many African nationals are still homeless and jobless and some say they still face racist attacks.

“We need evacuation. Tunisia is not safe. No one has a future here when you have this colour. It is a crime to have this colour,” said Josephus Thomas, pointing to the skin on his forearm.

In announcing the crackdown on Feb. 21, President Kais Saied said illegal immigration was a criminal conspiracy to change Tunisia’s demography, language the African Union described as “racialised hate speech”.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf told Reuters on Thursday that Saied’s comments had unleashed “attacks and a tidal wave of racist rhetoric”, with rights groups saying hundreds of migrants reported being attacked or insulted.

Saied and Tunisia’s foreign minister have rejected accusations that he or the government is racist and they announced steps to ease visa regulations for Africans and reminded police of anti-racism laws.

While the official crackdown appeared to end weeks ago, migrants say they still face abuse.

“People told me ‘since you are in our country after the president’s speech, don’t you have any dignity?’ I kept silent and they told me I am dirt,” said Awadhya Hasan Amine, a Sudanese refugee outside the UNHCR headquarters in Tunis.

Amine has lived in Tunis for five years after fleeing Sudan and then Libya with her husband. Now 30, she has been living on the street outside the UNHCR headquarters since local people pelted her house in the capital’s Road district with rocks.

“We want to live in a place of safety, stability and peace. We don’t want problems in Tunisia,” she said.

Although some West African countries evacuated hundreds of their citizens earlier this month, many remain stuck in Tunisia, unable to support themselves let alone afford passage home or pay smugglers hundreds of dollars to ferry them to Europe.

“Tunisia is an African country. Why do they do racist things to us?” said Moumin Sou, from Mali, who was sacked from his job working behind a bar after the president’s speech and was beaten up the next day by a man in the street who stole his money.

Sou wants to return home, he said, but many others are determined to travel on to Europe.

In the wake of the crackdown, in which police detained hundreds of undocumented migrants and authorities urged employers to lay them off and landlords to evict them, smuggler crossings to Italy have surged.

Tunisian National Guard official Houssem Jbeli said on Wednesday that the coast guard had stopped 30 boats carrying more than 2,000 people. On the same day and the following day four boats sank, with five people drowned. 

– Reuters

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Health and Safety

NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 



NAFDAC urges journalists to join in fight against circulation, use of bleaching creams 

 The National Agency For Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has urged journalists to collaborate with the agency in the fight against the circulation and use of bleaching creams in the country.

Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, Director-General (D-G), NAFDAC, made the call while sensitising journalists in the North Central States on the dangers of bleaching creams.

She made the call at a North Central Zonal Media Sensitisation Workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls which was organised for the Association of Nigeria Health Journalists on Friday in Jos.

Adeyeye said the workshop was aimed at educating and challenging health journalists in Nigeria to play frontline role in the agency’s effort to eradicate the menace of bleaching creams.

The D-G was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Chemical Evaluation and Research of the Agency.

 “Bleaching creams damage vital organs in the body, cause skin irritation, allergy, skin burn, rashes, wrinkles and prolong the healing of wounds.

“Black is beautiful, we don’t need to change our color.

“NAFDAC will constantly engage the mass media as we strive to bring down to the grass root levels positive impact of our regulatory activities,” she said.

On his part, Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, Director,  Public Affairs of the Agency, said: “The workshop was meant to educate the mass media with the right information and campaign against the use of bleaching creams in Nigeria.

“Public ignorance is not an excuse before the law. The role of the mass media in the promotion of public health is very important not only for cosmetics and all other NAFDAC regulatory products”. 

In a remark, Mr. Hassan Zaggi, President, Association of Nigeria Health Journalists, said: “Skin bleaching cream is a serious concern among the citizens in the country.

“Why would somebody use his hard-earned money to buy a cream that will endanger his skin?.

“As journalists, we have a responsibility to educate people on the dangers and as well shape the opinion of the people,” Zaggi said.

He appealed to the journalists to pay attention to the workshop for onward circulation of learning outcomes to members of the public. 

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