- January 4, 2020
- Posted by: Stephen Azubuike
- Category: News
Sometime between August and October, 2019, there was a trending video across Nigeria showing false marriage between President Buhari and some members of his cabinet, particularly, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed and Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Social Development, Sadiya Umar-Farouq.
Aggrieved, Mrs. Ahmed filed a formal complaint to the Department of Security Service (DSS) on October 11, 2019 regarding the video, stating that the video had caused her huge embarrassment and urging the DSS to carry out full investigation of the development.
The outcome of that investigation was that on Friday, 3rd January, 2020, the DSS presented Buhari, Mrs. Ahmed and Mrs. Umar-Farouq with a New Year gift being the arrest of the maker of the fake video by name, Kabiru Mohammed.
Brief profile of Kabiru Mohammed
Kabiru Mohammed, a 32-year-old indigene of Kano State. He is also a holder of a Diploma certificate in Hausa and Fulfulde from the Federal College of Education, Kano, and also a Diploma in Mass Communication from Aminu Kano Islamic School. Kabiru claims to be a member of a Kano-based political pressure group, Kwankwasiya – a group associated with the former Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso.
Motive behind video
It is uncertain what the motive of Kabiru was in creating the fake video. Undoubtedly, the making of a fake marriage video showing the President in a purported marriage with some of his Ministers can hardly be actuated with anything other than bad faith. It is as embarrassing as it is distasteful.
The spokesperson of the DSS, Mr. Peter Afunanya confirms that investigation is ongoing to ascertain the real motive behind the video and to determine whether there are other persons, interests and motives behind the video other than what the suspect had disclosed in his confession.
The real wedding
Kabiru Mohammed has by his conduct set up a real marriage in the “hall of doom” as the full wrath of the law awaits him for such reckless and thoughtless misadventure. Ranging from possible defamatory claims being levelled against him, Mr. Kabiru risks facing possible criminal prosecution.
The advocates of social media regulation has since stated that it is events of this nature that inspires the agitation for a law to specifically deal with misuse of social media – to hand down false and defamatory information. Long time ago, the Supreme Court moved to uphold the existence of the constitutionally guaranteed fundamental right of freedom of speech but warns of defamatory remarks. In Din v. African Newspapers Ltd.  3 NWLR (Pt. 139) 392 at 408-409 paras. H-A, the Court held thus, per Karibi-Whyte, JSC:
The right to comment freely on matters of public interest is one of the fundamental rights of free speech guaranteed to the individual in our Constitution. It is so dear to the Nigerian and of vital importance and relevance to the rule of law which we so dearly treasure for our personal freedom. It is conceded that the right to discuss matters of public concern does not confer liberty to make defamatory statements; however honestly made.
The proposed statutory regulation of the social media has met with challenges in that citizens are worried about any potential violation of the right to freedom of expression. It must be clearly stated that it is an act of gross irresponsibility for anyone to mastermind the spreading of false information just to heat up the polity. Unfortunately, fake news and propaganda has become useful tools in the hands of those desperately seeking to discredit the current administration. This is not welcome. Indeed, there are other legitimate ways of keeping the Government in check through healthy criticisms.
Nigerians must beware of fake news. Its effects could be damaging.
News credit: Premium Times