Ovie Okpare, Warri
A former governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, on Tuesday, lamented that the Federal Government’s recent policy to reward whistleblowers with five per cent of any loot recovery had increased the number of those he referred to as blackmailers in the country.
The former governor contended that the “blackmailers” took advantage of the initiatives to write fictitious petitions without supporting evidence against perceived opponents of the government of the day.
He spoke during the 2017 annual lecture/press week of the Delta State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists at the Labour House, Asaba, the state capital, on Tuesday.
He said although the social media had helped to hold Nigerian leaders accountable, many had abused the platform, using it as a tool of blackmail.
Uduaghan, who was the chairman on the occasion, stated that he had been a victim of blackmail, adding that such blackmailers were feeding fat, buying cars and building houses through such means.
He argued that prevailing laws were not stiff enough to deter those involved in blackmail.
The ex-governor said the free access to users of social media needed to be checked before it would become a major security threat, calling on the mainstream media to verify their facts when copying stories from the social media, which he contended were, most times, not factual.
Uduaghan stated, “The topic of this lecture is very apt because the social media grant unlimited access to everybody without any form of restriction. The new media is a good innovation but ugly posts are overtaking the good.
“The whistleblower policy of the Federal Government has increased the number of blackmailers, who bank on the free access granted by the social media to dish out false information.
“I have been a victim, I am sure many others have also fallen to the activities of the blackmailers, who now feed fat and buy cars and houses through such means.
“Sometimes, their activities pose security threat to government and action must be taken to address it.”
The state governor, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, in his address, commended the efforts of journalists, noting that the press was vital to the survival of the country from the present economic recession in the country.