Dealing with the Shila menace: a media approach

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Adamawa Debt, Fintiri, Attorney General, Governor Fintiri, Bindow, Shila

“I do not claim to have all the answers, therefore each and everyone who desires to have a say in how the state, Adamawa is governed is welcome to do so, and constructively” these were the words of Governor Ahmadu Fintiri.

I am encouraged by the above statement of the Governor to come forward with the following analysis from the mass media perspective in the hope of assisting the government to improve the security of lives and property.

Undoubtedly, the security of lives and property ranks high in the demand and expectation of electorates after any government settles into office. For security is the seed from which growth and development sprouts.

With this in mind, Gov Fintiri adviced the thugs known as “Yan Shila”, infamous for terrorizing residents of the state capital to shape up or get shipped out.

The people of Adamawa state could not be any happier, for each and every one of us has suffered from the Shila menace one way or the other.

First and foremost, the resolve of these able-bodied youths to resort to such activities is an accumulation of issues including but not limited to drugs abuse, broken families , mental instability , frustration , lack of future ambitions due to inferior education received, lack of skills, unemployment and in my opinion, worst of all, exposure to movies glorifying violence.

Media effect scholars have proven with numerous research, the correlation between televised violence and violent behaviors, especially among the youths. This is because most youth, if not most adults lack the media literacy skills to filter media messages consumed daily.

The stimulus-response theory, also known as the hypodermic needle or magic bullet theory states that media messages influence the behavior of passive audience. Violent movies stimulate the interest of violence and crimes in certain viewers, it also triggers their violent instincts by arming them with practical examples of how to organize and execute violent crimes.

Stimulus-response Theory

However, limited media effect scholars and some psychologist argued that televised violence serves as a means of catharsis that purges the viewer off aggressive behaviors but the reality is that televised violence serves as aggressive cue more than a means of catharsis.

Moreover, DeFleur et al, aggressive cues theory state unequivocally “exposure to mass-mediated violence increase a person level of physiological and emotional simulation which can result in aggressive behavior”.

DeFleur et al

Chief among movie industry corrupting the minds of youths and swaying them towards violent behaviors is the translated Indian movies to Hausa languages. I did not arrive at this conclusion through any scientific research, I did through observation of the mode of operation of the Shila thugs, the vocabularies they use in conversation especially among themselves and the kind of violent activities they exhibit which are similar to the ones in those translated Indian movies. Anyone familiar with both will notice the connection.

To uproot the Shila menace root and stem, the state government need to implement John Rawls ethical principle “the veil of ignorance” where anyone caught will be dealt with without fear or favor, after all, a cat in gloves catches no mice and justice cannot be selective.

The state government must also find alternatives for the ‘Shila thugs’ by empowering them with skills, encourage entrepreneurship by providing loans, jobs, control the circulation and abuse of drugs, improve the standard of educational especially at the lower levels, and set up a censorship board to make sure we are mindful of the kinds of movies our youths are exposed to in public viewing centers across the state . If we don’t watch what we watch, we shall continue to pay dearly.

Shuaibu Ahmed is a lecturer in the department of mass communication Adamawa state polytechnic, Yola And can be reached at ahmedshuaib063@gmail.com

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