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Nigerian TikTokers sentenced to whipping

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By Abraham Adekunle

The two were found guilty in court and punished by also cleaning the court.

After the subsequent banning of the Twitter web application by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, the world has seen more censoring in the form of internet bans and internet shutdowns. For instance, in Iran, the internet was reportedly shut down because multitudes of people took to the street to protest the killing of a young woman because she had not worn her hijab properly. Although videos of protesters being manhandled, threatened and teargassed by the police found their way onto the internet, many of the people in the country could not access the internet.

In the last couple of months, Nigeria has also seen a couple of incidents like this, though no outright internet ban or shutdown has occurred. The social media space in Northern Nigeria is a space where northerners must use the same way as their everyday space. Two TikTok stars, Mubarak Isa Muhammad and Muhammad Bala, were sentenced to a whipping and forced to clean the court after they used the social media platform to mock a government official.

The two reportedly defamed Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano.

The two were found guilty of defaming Abdullahi Ganduje, the governor of Kano State. In response, their lawyer said that they would not be challenging the decision of the court. Muhammad and Bala were arrested a week before the judgement was passed after they posted their video on TikTok. In the video, they mocked the governor for alleged land grabbing, corruption and sleeping on the job. They posted the video on TikTok and Facebook. Nigeria has seen a growing number of social media personalities who use comedy to comment on social and political issues.

These social media influencers, known as skit makers, use satire and humor to drive home their point so that their contents are entertaining as well as educating. It should be noted Governor Abdullahi Ganduje was caught on video allegedly stashing dollar notes in his “babaringa” dress a few years ago. This scandal was a social media sensation, one that every social media user was confronted with at least more than once. Hence, the TikTokers may have accused him of corruption and other irregularities as an offshoot of this as well as subsequent actions the governor has taken.

The judge ordered the accused to be whipped.

Kano State is a Muslim-majority state in Northern Nigeria. It is one of the Sharia-practicing states in the north. This means that there are two court jurisdictions in the state: the government’s (which is administered using federal laws) and the Sharia court (which is administered by Islamic laws). The Sharia laws governing that jurisdiction are usually steep, but by default, only Muslims can be tried in those courts. This is why the accused were arrested and simply charged to a Sharia court; they are Muslims.

The prosecution lawyer, Wada Ahmed Wada, said that the men had defamed the governor and that their action was capable of disturbing public peace. The men pleaded guilty and asked for leniency. The judge ordered that they should be given 20 lashes each, that they should pay a fine of N10,000, and that they should clean the court premises for 30 days. They were also ordered to publicly apologize to Governor Abdullahi Ganduje on the same social media.

Is social media really a platform for free speech?

Their lawyer told the BBC that they would not challenge the judgement because it was a “non-custodial” sentence, that is, the convicted will not be jailed. There has been a rapid increase in TikTok users in Nigeria in recent years, particularly among the young people. These users sometimes mock public figures, including government officials, by clipping images or videos, often to create comedies that brings them traction. If incidents that occurred to the convicted goes unchecked, can we really say that social media is really a free-speech platform?


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Ultra0711
Ultra0711
1 year ago

The power of social medial has yet been misused again. Meanwhile, the funniest part is that social media users for indulge in such act of attacking or mocking public figures only do it to chase clout and drive the attention of the people. This will show others how to thread carefully.

Abusi
Abusi
1 year ago

So the usage of satire to create skits about the ills happening in our society is now a crime?
I don’t understand how they defamed the governor. The judgement was unruly and unjustifiable.

jdpumping
jdpumping
1 year ago

Just imagine in a free country to be held for doing too Tok and also been punished for such at because it’s towards the governor,we need do more than this int his present age.

Haykaylyon26
Haykaylyon26
1 year ago

What to be uploading on social media should not be something that will be against the law or thy will affect other people. We have to me careful on what to post on social media not to be attacking other people because there is power in social media people are just mis using it any how

Bola12
Bola12
1 year ago

There has been a rise in the number of comedians using their online platforms to address political and social concerns in Nigeria.

Tolaniiii
Tolaniiii
1 year ago

After the Buhari administration banned Twitter, internet bans and shutdowns increased worldwide.

Tonerol10
Tonerol10
1 year ago

What kind of country is this, just because of TikTok. talking about Iran banning social media that vos their business. The Advantage on social media platforms is more than the Disadvantage

Hassan Isa
Hassan Isa
1 year ago

It is very unfortunate that the world has witnessed an increase in censorship in the form of internet bans and internet shutdowns because this restricts people’s freedom of expression.

Taiwoo
Taiwoo
1 year ago

It is unfortunate that videos showing protesters being threatened, teargassed, and otherwise mistreated by police were able to make their way onto the internet despite the fact that many people in the country were unable to access the internet.

Chibuzor
Chibuzor
1 year ago

There have been a few occurrences similar to this one reported in Nigeria, but there has not been an outright ban or shutdown of the internet.

Godsewill Ifeanyi
Godsewill Ifeanyi
1 year ago

It is important for us to be aware that the social media space in Northern Nigeria is a space that residents of the region are expected to use in the same manner as their everyday environment.

Adesanyaj72
Adesanyaj72
1 year ago

This issue was a phenomenon on social media, and each and every person who uses social media was presented with it at least more than once.

Nwachukwu Kingsley
Nwachukwu Kingsley
1 year ago

Once again, the influence of social media has been abused. Meanwhile, the best part is that those who insult or mock public personalities online just do it to gain popularity and attention.

Kazeem1
Kazeem1
1 year ago

We have to me careful on what to post on social media not to be attacking other people because there is power in social media people are just mis using it any how

SarahDiv
SarahDiv
1 year ago

It is absurd that in a country where we have freedom of speech some people are still arrested and whipped for saying what they see concerning a governor of their state.

DimOla
DimOla
1 year ago

In this modern and civilized world some state in Nigeria still want to keep themselves in the dark and Ancient world. How can you arrest people for expressing their freedom of speech.

DimOla
DimOla
1 year ago

In a civilized and modern world you still have this kind of thing existing. In the first place where we have gotten it wrong as a nation is for to run two different Law in a secular world all in the name of one religion among many religions within the same state.
It is completely out of place to arrest these people as a governor for saying the truth about you.

Adeolastan
Adeolastan
1 year ago

With the 21th century enlightenment and education all this bad type of practice should have gone to existition,all this can’t make any nation to progress because no freedom of expression.

Iyanu12345ogg
Iyanu12345ogg
1 year ago

Truthfully, social media is surrounded with many things…at the same time, we have careful on what to post on social media not to be attacking other people because in power on social media.

theApr
theApr
1 year ago

With this level of civilization, why should we be operating two laws. Where people get punished against the constitutional laws, buh feels right because sharia law has been adopted and authorized. What sort of religious bigotry is that

Remi1
Remi1
1 year ago

It is bad that in a nation where there is freedom of expression, some people are still detained and beaten for expressing their opinions about the governor of their state. So the governor considers it disrespectful that his corruption was made public. Wow