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Social Media Or Social Evil?

By Okechukwu Onuegbu
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The popularity of social networking service has grown expediently in recent time. A situation which is worrisome in the country like Nigeria among other developing and developed countries world-wide where online sites such as facebook, myspace, blogs, yahoo, twitter, email, youtube, BBM and others gain much patronage.

Despite the economy meltdown, political instability, weather condition, epileptic power supply, bomb blasts and unemployment posing challenges to the nation, Nigerians still find it possible to “swimming round” these sites out of their busy schedules or daily routine.

Perhaps, this prompted some critics to posit that the country is a “dumping ground where virtually everything sells. A nation where any product which does not sell could neither be sold in any other country in the globe”.

Little wonder the country often craves, rushes, pursues or marry whatever innovation, products and services introduced at expense of the former ones in their possessions. For instance, a possessor of Nokia Asha 10 runs to purchase Nokia Lumia 510, window 7 System to window 8 and so on when advertised.

The way Nigerians get around social networking services through mobile phones, laptops, palmtops and through cybercafés, thereby perverting all forms of atrocities rather than sticking to social instant communication and services to and fro friends and associates far and near as supposed the social networking services.

Now, the social networking service is becoming evil or better put “social curse to this generation”. A curse worst than Bokoharam indeed! This is sequel to its academic, physical, psychological and anti-religious impacts on Nigerians (mostly youths) who promote different evils ranging from Advance fee fraud (419), raping, kidnapping, murder, masturbation, lesbianism, homosexualism to mention but a few.

Followers of education bodies like WAEC, NECO, NABTEB, including tertiary institutions could recall the records of mass failure of students, expulsion and dead mission of students whose failure to meet-up with their target were always attributed to incessant surfing of social networking services and downloading of applications 48 hours as well as viewing the pornographic movies and pictures posted therein.

Precisely, psychological effects of social media has risen over the years at the heels of researchers empirical evidences that world are currently eschewing face to face communication while clinging to browsing and chatting, noting that perpetrators may likely face clinical disorderliness, lack of thinking among others.

Notably, the popularity of social networking sites causes havoc on today's churches as youths are often seen surfing while sermons are in progress in their churches. It is possible to see a youth laughing or making noise while the church service is in progress thereby making jest and fools of the clerics preaching.

But the worst of it statistically, is its physical or grievous effects on users globally, Africa specifically and Nigeria in particular. Topmost on the list perhaps, is the report posted on EXPOSE GHANA (www.exposeghana.com) a Ghanaian online website on February 23, 2013 which disclosed that “Africa emerged as the number one continent identified for online fraud in the year 2012 according to IOVATION, a-US Company that protects online business from fraud and abuse”.

According to the report said to have been released by the aforementioned organization on February 21, 2013, the high percentages of such online fraud which includes credit card, identity theft, profile misrepresentation and online scams and solicitations is from Nigeria and Ghana. Why is Nigeria first on the list of this social evil? Read my report on this blog (www.okechukwuonuegbu.blogspot.comor at Orient Daily newspapers, modernghana.com,thenigerianvoice.com) under the headline “www.interjobgetters.comis a job scam” (It is my personal encounter/investigative report with a scam job provider in Awka, Anambra state. The company has now relocated to unknown destination since the publication appeared at the front page of Orient Daily last year but the website is still functional. I am sure, the owner-a spinster of over thirty years old still defraud people through this site and her fraud email. Who blames her while EFCC, ICPC and Ministry of Justice I reported the incidence to same time are yet to invite me or the woman for further investigation or action?).

Better still, best answer to the above question is the news that would never elude Nigerian media. That is the pathetic story of a 24-year Miss Cynthia Udoka Osokogu (daughter of Retired Gen. Frank Osokogu) allegedly slain by her facebook friends in a Lagos based hotel (where they defrauded, sexually harassed and strangled her to death). The media also noted that two persons among the six accused persons of the crime admitted to have done it while stressing that Late Cynthis was their sixth victim of “social evil baptized social networking”.

Similarly, Vanguard news reported on January 1, 2013 that Lagos state Police Command arrested a facebook lover who claimed to be a doctor for defrauding one of his facebook friends the sum of N200,000 with intent to secure job for her in Custom Service “where he allegedly had a slot”. The report quoted the Lagos state police spokesperson MS Ngozi Braide saying that the suspect had previously been arrested and charged to court for similar offence about three years ago but was later set free with no recoded person, adding that the 36-year old suspect has also extorted money in a similar vein from not less than 5 female NYSC members.

Also, Daily Post (Nigerian online newspaper) posted early March last year that Edo state Police Command rescued a Spaniard who was lured to Nigeria by his lover who connived to defraud and held him hostage in a hotel in Benin-City, the state capital, adding that two people were also nabbed by same police for luring and rapping their facebook lover, 16 year old girl in a hotel, but the girl however, survived to tell the story unlike Late pretty Cynthia. What a social evil?

Sometimes last year, some persons were apprehended likewise for masquerading and extortion of money among other valuables from people via fake-facebook accounts of Prophets/Pastors TB Joshua, Umah Ukpai, Olukoya, Kumuyi; Governors Fashola of Lagos and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state and so on. So it continues till date.

So, the evil of social media is inexhaustible but for the sake of space, let me keep the pen down by advising addicted users of social media to make judicious use of the numerous potentials inherent from them such as information and entertainment rather than drowning the world in evil baptized social networking.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Okechukwu Onuegbu and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."