The explosion in portable electronic devices capable of communication, photography, videography, and voice recording combined with the popularity of social media such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Instagram has created a toxic mixture where the macabre is now mundane in Nigeria. Cellphones started out as devices capable of only communications, but the addition of the capabilities as enumerated above, have turned them into smart devices or smartphones. However, as cellphones have become wiser and wiser, their operators have either become dumber or at the most have not become any smarter.

Africastallestman was greatly disturbed when the video of a murdered, kidnapped woman, who was being dug up from a shallow grave, where she was hastily buried was splashed all over social media for public entertainment. Her kidnappers after extorting money from her family, had apparently buried her alive. Her crime, she recognized one of these sub animal humans. The full-length video shot with the criminals digging her up and policemen barking orders at them is accessible to anybody connected to the Internet. Her body was shown in full nudity with her hands tied with twines suggesting that she was buried alive. Apparently, this video must have been shot with the acquiescence of the police authorities. The location of the grave in a wooded area not easily accessible to passersby suggests police complicity. Filming of crime scenes for evidentiary purposes is legally acceptable but filming of crime scenes for pretrial public consumption is abhorrent and probably illegal and actionable. It becomes more unacceptable when the consent of the object of the video/photograph is lacking.

Other sordid displays of these senselessness include fatal accidents involving celebrities on public highways, public flaming (burning) by mobs of allegedly guilty, without trial, of persons accused of stealing, or of persons who are capable of making male genitals disappear by a mere handshake. I guess the female genital is disappearance-proof. Male impotence is a real problem especially with the surge in diabetes and hypertension worldwide. It has also become commonplace for police interviews of suspects to be made available on the Internet for public consumption. Maybe the motive is to convict suspects without a trial.

These dumb persons who post these macabre videos or photographs are easily traceable by their IP addresses, social media accounts, or cellphone numbers. While Nigerians may be excused for using humor, sometimes self-deprecating, to cushion the effects of a harsh economic climate augmented by a rudderless leadership, there must be limits to the sordid invasion of people’s privacy, that we witness today on the Internet.

Enough is enough. Who would want their naked mother, father, wife, sister, brother or any significant other to be displayed as a public spectacle for Internet oglers? The Nigerian legislature must immediately pass a law to ban this senseless behavior and stop the macabre from becoming the mundane. Any involvement by police authorities should attract more severe penalties. This behavior, if not curtailed may play into the hands of politicians who would want to use it as an excuse to police social media.

Comments always welcome.

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