Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
Kano State Government on Monday declared that the controversial video of underage voters that went viral on social media recently insinuating that under-age Nigerians voted in the just concluded Kano local government elections was shot on March 30, 2015.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mohammed Garba, said â€œThe recent poll in Kano was adjudged as one of the freest in the history of council polls in Nigeria by both local and international observers. I make bold to say that that controversial video belongs to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Garba expressed happiness that INEC has seized the gauntlet to investigate the matter, adding that â€œthe outcome of the investigation would exonerate the Kano State electoral body.â€
Addressing the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) at a two-day national conference in Kano 2018 with theme: â€˜Hate Speech: Halting the Tide before It Is Too Lateâ€™, the state commissioner for information said the video clips were shot during the 2015 elections organised by INEC.
Â â€œThe video that went viral on social media contained scenes where INEC card readers were deployed; and nothing of such was used in the last council poll in the state-we did not use card readers, and there was no event of under-age voting during the February 10 council poll in the state,â€ he said.
The commissioner insisted that Kano State Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) followed all due process guided by law during the election.
Speaking on the theme of the conference, Garba noted that the recent spread of hates speeches, specifically on the social media remains a serious threat to Nigerian democracy and unity.
He said there was urgent need to tackle the menace headlong, adding that â€œevery sensible person today is highly concerned by the way and manner the so-called social media has almost taken over the dissemination of information. These are laymen who do this in the most unprofessional manners.â€
He described the conference as apt and important to the future of journalism profession, and hoped that recommendations at the end of the conference would bring lasting solution to the menace.
The commissioner further stated that the state Governor, Gandujeâ€™s administration has remained media-friendly despite outrageous criticism from a number of media houses, particularly the broadcast media in Kano.
â€œWe have never contemplated influencing the closure on anyone; but we have consistently cautioned and advised them to do what is right. This is why the NUJ conference comes at a more appropriate time that would be used to tackle hate speeches and the spreading of baseless rumors,â€ he added.
Also speaking at the event, the National President of NUJ, AbdulWaheed Odusile, also expressed worry over the rate at which hate speeches are rearing their ugly heads, and called for ways to put an end to it.
According to him, â€œAs journalists, we are not trained to promote hate speeches irrespective of the source of our information. We are called Nigerian journalists because there is a country called Nigeria. So, we should do whatever it takes to protect the sanctity of this country called Nigeria for our own good.â€