Nigeria: Kaigama Cautions Against Use of Media to Instigate Violence, Disunity

17 May 2021

Abuja — The Catholic Archbishop of the Abuja Archdiocese, His Grace Most Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, has sued for responsible and accountable use of the media to avoid breeding anarchy and chaos in the country.

Kaigama said in a homily he delivered in Abuja to mark the 55th World Communications Day that modern media communication is an asset that could help to advance peace and order.

He stated that media could be used to spread peace or instigate violence at the same time.

"It can also to fuel prejudice and contempt between individuals and among peoples. As Pope Francis said in his message, the risk of misinformation being spread on social media has become evident to everyone. We have known for some time that news and even images can be easily manipulated for any number of reasons. In communicating, we must ensure objectivity, respect for human rights and dignity, the common good; avoiding hostility and confusion," he said.

Kaigama added that one of the lessons that actors in Africa's contemporary politics would learn from the election of Matthias, one of the apostles of Jesus Christ, is that credible elections must be peaceful, without manipulation, partiality or ungodly conduct.

The Archbishop also said that the shoddy manner elections are conducted have raised doubts about whether people's votes count at all in the country's electoral system.

He said: "The quest to win by hook or by crook, and the winner takes all syndrome explain why it is nearly always certain that the party of the incumbent governor will clear all the available seats in a local government election in the state, and this is often what lays the foundation for electoral violence, and the extravagant use of power and resources."

Quoting the statement made by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, the archbishop enjoined media practitioners to resist manipulative use of the media to stir tensions and heat up the polity to favour or satisfy certain interests at the expense of truth and objectivity.

He warned that "this will not bring to society the needed light, hope, consolation, healing, growth and progress."

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