INSULTS AND THREATS ON SOCIAL MEDIA; THE BANE OF MODERN POLITICS IN NAIJA

Ewa Okpo
I’m not surprised that people now assault people on social media over political disagreements now that another ballot season is at hand. I remember how some lad that couldn’t even greet me without genuflecting while in school yesteryears suddenly rained all sorts of abuses on me when I pointed out my fears about the proposed presidency of buhari in 2014 on social media. Mehn. The guy insulted the world out of me. He’d just come to my wall and insult me outrightly on a post that doesn’t even concern him at all. As if that wasn’t enough, he’ll just decide to spend a whole day insulting me by calling me all sorts of names on his wall tagging me just for not supporting his candidate. Christ! Imagine somebody that I could physically beat up black and blue even with my right hand tied to my back spitting on my face on social media. Not for once did I warn or threaten to deal with him.

I kept on explaining my argument. I kept on asking him why he had to resort to insults. I kept on telling him he was only insulting me because he didn’t have any good point to prove his case. And that was a good point to increase his assault on me. Today, he suddenly wants to be my friend again. Every single fear I shared about buhari has come to pass. He hasn’t apologized to me. He suddenly acts like nothing happened between us. That’s the trend these days. In fact, it is even more disconcerting in Akwa Ibom state. Some lad who isn’t your mate in anyway will insult you on social media but when he sees you he hails you “Obong owo” or “Ette Ufok” meaning “Boss”.

Some will even try to insult your sensibilities by trying to deny the insult. Now here’s the one that blows my mind, “Obong owo, mbok yom mkpo nno mien…” Boss please look for something for me. What else could you possibly look for them if not a hot slap?! Imagine the lack of conscience. Unfortunately, those are the ones our politicians always indulge with favours. So why won’t the assaults and blackmails on social media progress?

The other one that beats me is when elderly people fight dirty with younger people on social media and want to come out unscathed.
I’m talking about an elderly man who should respect himself engaging in a war of words with his children over politics. Such an elder should be ready to dance to the song he chose. You can’t play with dogs and not want your clothes torn our people say. Instead of checking themselves they begin to threaten the young one. So why the threats if I may ask?! Not that I’m supporting insults but truth is what we call insults are not in the true sense insult but mere African blackmail culture. For instance, if I tell an elderly person that he’s stupid or foolish or mad that is out right insult. It’s very wrong.

But in this clime of ours to tell an elderly person that he’s telling a lie which may be the truth on your part is said to be an insult. To challenge an elderly person in an argument is said to be insults. This I disagree. Else we shall all die in silence while falsehood and evil thrive. Because trust me, old people these days can lie! That’s how I engaged some elders of oro extraction in a WhatsApp group for attempting to peddle lies about the Akwa Ibom Politics and the Oro nation. Meanwhile, they’d been part of that politics right from inception without wincing a word for oro people until when they found themselves on the other side of the table. I challenged them to first accept their contributory negligence before seeking damages from others instead of declaring themselves saints and others demons. Of course it takes only an oro man to tell his fellow oro people the bitter truth that they cannot reject. Guess what.

My elders commissioned an investigation bureau on me. First they wanted to fault my origin. A very clean decent for that matter. That failed them. They tried to reach me by themselves and emissaries but I wouldn’t oblige them. So they resorted to blackmail. How I was insulting my elders, how I was against people, how I was this and how I was that and sometimes insulted me outrightly. I didn’t insult them in reprise beyond the insults they inferred from the truths I told them. I didn’t threaten them beyond the usual notification “ewa is typing…” And boy they were so threatened albeit harmlessly. I have been threatened severally myself by certain elements some of whom are now my friends. But even in our friendship I still remember that they once threatened me.

Anyway today’s piece isn’t about me, so back to this general insult and threat trend.
Threat to me is worse than insult. An insult at most could end in civil litigation but threats can always be twisted and exaggerated into criminal allegations cum prosecution if not persecution. In fact, someone privy to a vaguely harmless threat like “I’ll deal with you” or you’ll hear from me” can turn around to harm the person being threatened to incriminate the “threatener”
Threat here is not just from the elderly like one Bassey Etim doled out recently to my brother Endurance Johnson even younger generation engage in it. I think young people even issue out threats the most. This is virtual violence! It is prosecutable but very few people know.
Trust me, there are a concourse of inmates wearing these shoes at the awaiting trial section of our prisons and much more serving time for it.
Thus, it is crassly foolhardy for anyone to threaten anybody on social media where evidence abounds against him even when he thinks he’s deleted it.

Now for those on the receiving end of the threats. So many people have been harmed for taking threats lightly. The fact that someone looks too frail or old or appears too far to act his word doesn’t mean he cannot or will never do so. There are many ways to catch a monkey our people say. That’s why it is advisable for one to raise alarm once a plate of threat is served before one is forced to eat the whole meal of harm.
Do not support assaults on social media and don’t excuse it either.
Tomorrow it could be you by mistake. But come to think of it, how did we even get here in the first place and where do we intend to go from here I look up to God everyday.
No cheers folks

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