The Benue State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, has warned Governor Hyacinth Alia that he has no power to regulate social media.
According to the party, Alia has no power to restrict the rights to freedom of expression in the state.
PDP Benue made this known in a statement by the spokesman of the party, Mr Bemgba Iortyom.
The statement was a reaction to the directive by Alia’s media aide, Asortar James, to netizens to report only vetted stories of killings by herdsmen and bandits in the state.
The aide said social media committees have been set up in all the local government areas to vet all reports of insecurity from citizens before they may be made public and said unpleasant consequences await anyone who flouts the directives.
Mr Iortyom said the media aide erred basically by failing to understand that he or his principal, the governor, has no powers to make laws regulating the use of social media.
He said the power to make laws in Nigeria rests with the legislature at the various tiers, and the regulation of media practice is vested in the National Assembly.
Iortyom said,” The media aide has no powers to regulate the use of social media, rather should he feel strongly about what anyone does there, he may approach the law courts, which alone have the powers to determine what is acceptable and what isn’t on that space, in line with the law.
“Secondly, the need for citizens reportage of the killings taking place across the state is made all the more necessary given that Asortar’s boss, the governor, only sparingly speaks about them even as they are a daily occurrence.
“Of course, the usual refrain is that Governor Alia doesn’t believe in propaganda as a means of tackling insecurity, yet the truth remains that a people silent under oppression only embolden their oppressor.”
He said Benue people will continue to use every channel open to them to call attention to the crimes being committed against them by bandits and terrorists, and no vainglorious aide will stop them from doing so.