Olukunle Akinrinade, Head, Weekend Crime Desk of The Nation, has said that Nigerians resort to the use of social media as an alternative means of expression in a highly militarised civic space. Akinrinade stated this as a panellist at the Civic Space Guard Conference.
The 2021 WSCIJ-Nigerian investigative reporter asserted that the state had no power to prevent people from speaking out. He faulted the duplication of laws under different bills to gag the people, a situation which has led many Nigerians to embrace social media platforms as an alternative means of expression.
Narrating his experience with the police, Akinrinade said, “I was a technician before I followed my dream and became a journalist. I was supposed to get some spare parts at the Alaba International Market. I was in the market till around 6:30 pm. I was returning to get a bus from Iyana-Oba to Iyana-Ipaja when some policemen swooped on those of us stranded at the bus stop.
“After being beaten and manhandled, I was taken to Ojo Police Station, and from there to Isashi. I was there for three days; nobody knew where I was. I resolved that if I could do something to make the society better, then I would do it”. He recounted.
Akinrinade blamed the mistrust between the citizens and the government represented by security agencies to years of brutality and inhumane treatment. He however applauded Nigerian journalists for risking all to protect the civic space and advised them to develop the gut to go all out as the fourth estate of the realm amidst repressive regulations.