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Monday, 27 August 2012


For the last two weeks Nigerians have had the misfortune of being bombarded with the shocking news of the gruesome killing by suspected hoodlums of Miss Cynthia Osokogu, the twenty four year old post- graduate student of the Nasarawa State University, Keffi and the only daughter of a retired military General-Major General Frank Osokogu whose retirement house is in Jos, Plateau State.
The young girl was said to have been lured by her alleged killers through the new social media from her base in Keffi, Nasarawa state to Lagos State where she underwent grueling sessions of physical assault and she suffered eventual death . Those who brutally murdered the young student and upwardly mobile entrepreneur, were reported to have met her through one of the social media chat rooms online whereby they deceived her into believing that they are genuine importers of foreign Fabrics and clothing and proposed a business meeting in Lagos.
Cynthia Osokogu just like any young Nigerian that consistently meet new friends and business partners online, decided to pay her new online friends a visit in Lagos since that was where she always buys her materials for her fashion outlet in Keffi, but she never returned alive.
The dastardly criminal act of the gruesome murder by online friends of this young Nigerian girl has sent shock waves across the country and a lot of people have also raised alarm of the inherent danger posed by dangerous criminals who use the new social media to lure their unsuspecting victim(s) to be dispossessed of their belongings and in some cases sexually abused and gruesomely murdered as was the case with Miss Cynthia.
The story of the murder of Cynthia came to light about the same period that a national debate was ignited by the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the danger and/or criminal activities that some shady characters have deployed the new social media as their platforms for committing different atrocities. But David Mark who only spoke about the damaging circulation of false allegations and libelous materials on the internet by these “faceless” internet hoodlums, never knew that there are even more danger lurking around the new social media.
When David Mark called for moderation and respect to ethical code of journalism in the use of new social media, little did he know that even armed robbers and murderers have found solace in the use of the new social media to lure their would-be victims as was the case with this young Nigerian lady-Cynthia Osokogu.
When people criticized David Mark for his alarm on the misuse of the new social media, this writer had backed him and also called for respect for ethical codes.
I had written that on the ethical question raised by David Mark, the Senate President on the abuse of the social media by most untrained minds, I think his position is sound, qualitative, objective and should therefore not be dismissed as canvassing for tighter laws on use of social or new media in Nigeria similar to what obtains in China and places like Iran or even Saudi Arabia.
The Senate President stated thus; “The emergence of social media like face book, twitter, blackberry messenger, YouTube have changed the face of media practice by making information sharing easier, faster and quicker. But this is not without its demerits. Social media has become a threat to the ethics of media practice and good governance because of its accessibility and absolute freedom. Every freedom carries a responsibility. Even in advanced democracies, where we all agree that good governance is practiced, there is no absolute freedom.”
He spoke further; “I therefore believe that there must be a measure to check the negative tendencies of the social media in our country. I say this because media practice, particularly journalism, process its news gathering and dissemination. It also operates a feedback mechanism and where the practitioners err there is room for rebuttal. But in the social media a faceless character can post any information that is absolutely false and misleading but will never retract it. At the end of the day one is bombarded with questions over what one has no business with.”
David Mark suggested a simple solution thus; “I suggest that schools of mass communication and journalism should review their curricula to include the operations of social media.”
On the killing of Miss Osokogu, the Nigerian police Force has announced the arrest of two suspects in the murder: Mr. Nwabuzo Okumo and Ezekiel Odera. The police had at a parade of the arrested suspects vowed to prosecute them over this despicable crime. The suspects were said to have drugged and chained Cynthia before beating her to death at a hotel named Casmillo Hotel, Lakeview, Estate, Phase 1, Amuwo Odofin Lagos.  During the parade led by the Lagos State police commissioner Mr. Umar Manko, last Wednesday, the suspects reportedly confessed to have lured Cynthia  Osokogu to her early death on the new social media.
Some analysts have praised what they called police decisive and effective arrest of these suspects only one month after this sad incident. But I am not one of those analysts to be deceived by this familiar method of crime fighting of the police which has not helped in pinning down suspects to the various crimes and obtaining quality convictions in the competent courts of law in compliance with section 6 of the Constitution of Nigeria of 1999 (as amended).
Specifically, part II, Article four of the police Act provides that; “The police shall be employed for the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of offenders, the preservation of law and order, the protection of life and property and the enforcement of all laws and regulations with which they are directly charged, and shall perform such military duties within or without Nigeria as may be required by them by, or under the authority, of this or any other Act”.
Nigeria Police Force has bad record of always rushing to parade crime suspects but always fail to ensure that good enough scientific/forensic body of evidence are generated, preserved and used by the prosecutors in the competent courts of law to get convictions for alleged crime suspects.
It is not enough to parade the suspected killers of Miss. Cynthia but the police must be made to generate unassailable body of evidence so that the real killers of this young innocent Nigerian girl- Miss Cynthia Osokogu are punished severely for this evil they have done to us all as decent Nigerians.



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