Bauchi Information Commissioner, Salihu Ibrahim Halilu has observed that social media has the potential to facilitate dialogue, exchange of information and ideas, and to organise and galvanise for collective action.
He also noted that social media networks are very active in defending social, environmental and political rights, freedom of the press, as well as denouncing human rights abuses.
In the same vein, Halilu said social media and mobile communication plays significant role in transforming virtual ideas into public action, as it also allows access to information not intended in corporate media in the preparation of peace in the society.
While declaring open a recent training workshop on the use of social media for peace campaign in Bauchi, he explained that social media sites and tools could be effectively and positively used for public mobilisation and campaign for peace and community integration, as well as for harmony and social cohesiveness.
He told the workshop participants drawn from civil society organisations (CSOs) and the media in the North-east that youth have the potential to build cross cultural links with other religious, ethnicities and backgrounds through the use of social media and popular means of interaction.
The commissioner also noted that social media has created spaces for more people than at any time past in history to become engaged with important issues of the present time.
“They have made a significant and enduring difference to the way people organise for social and political activism, create economic opportunities, facilitate disaster response, link networks across national divides, and share previously inaccessible information and knowledge”, he added.
Bauchi State coordinator of the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD), organisers of the workshop, Mallam Isa Garba, said his organisation looked at the insecurity challenge in the North-east and sought that social media can play important role in advocating for peace.
Describing technology as a double-edged tool, Garba said CITAD decided to train CSOs on how to use the social media for peace advocacy rather than allow people to use it in the negative aspect.
He said the workshop was designed to create a platform with the CSOs in trying to advocate designed policies with the government where peace can be created, maintained and promoted in the North-east sub-region.
Altogether, 32 participants from CSOs and the media across five states in the North-east, Borno, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa and Taraba are attending the two-day CITAD training workshop.