Several people think it’s ok to simply download a picture from the internet and appropriate it in whatsoever way they seem. This idea has earned a Nigerian man 3 years in prison.
Godwin Stephen, also known as Steve Winners, is a 27-year-old entertainer and event planner based in Rivers State who was arrested and remanded in prison for three years for using the photo of a child he found online for publicity for his birthday. In an exclusive interview with The Punch newspaper, he narrated how a downloaded picture, which happened to be that of a missing child, he had used on a fundraising flyer had attracted the attention of the police and had landed him in trouble.
How did he get the picture? “I went online and searched for ‘hungry orphans in Africa and Nigeria’ and a lot of pictures popped up. I selected and downloaded about 20 pictures to use on the flier and social media.” Steve had said in the interview. The flyer went out and all was going well until the police came calling.
“They drove me to the Owerri North police station in Imo State. When we went in, they brought out some pictures and told me they were looking for a particular one. They pointed at the picture. I recognised the picture because it was one of the ones I used for my birthday flier. I told them I got it from the internet. They told me that they have been looking for the child since 2017 and the woman I saw with them in Port Harcourt was the mother of the missing child and the five-year-old was the twin sister. I told them I didn’t know anything about the child because I got them from the internet. I showed them the picture and my phone showed it was a downloaded document, but they refused to listen to me.” Steve had explained.
On the lesson he learnt from this experience, he said “The internet is good, but it is also bad, but one must be very careful not to fall into trouble. About downloads, it is always good to be sure of the sites you are downloading from and every detail, in case of any issues that may arise. We must be very careful of the internet and be mindful of what we post so one cannot be implicated for what they do not know about. I hope everyone learns from my story. I have seen myself as a sacrificial lamb. Let those who have ears hear.”