Nigerian government to regulate social media

President Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

Nigerian government is making plans to regulate the use of social media, Nigeria’s minister of information Lai Mohammed said on Tuesday in Abuja.

“It has reached a level that the government may just no longer fold its arms and allow this to continue,” the minister said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Mohammed said no responsible government would want the activities of social media capable of setting the country on fire to continue.
He, however, assured stakeholders that “responsible journalists” have nothing to fear as the government’s intention is not to gag the media.

Mohammed’s comment contradicts the position of Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Osinbajo on Thursday stated that that the regulation of the social media in Nigeria was not necessary.

“I don’t think that government regulation is necessarily the way to go,” Osinbajo said at the interfaith religious dialogue on promoting religious tolerance and acceptance organised by the United Arab Emirate Embassy in Abuja.
“I believe that we as persons of faith, as leaders and those of us who use social media actively, owe a responsibility to our society and to everyone else to ensure that we don’t allow it to become an instrument of conflict and war,” he added.

The vice president however called for “self-regulating and ensuring that we don’t lend our platforms to those who would promote conflict.”
The regulation of the social media contents have also been a concern at the National Assembly. In 2016, senate withdrawn the Frivolous Petition Bill sponsored by Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah.

The bill sought to regulate the use of social media and short message service (SMS) in the country but it drew the irk of Nigerians who found a portion of the bill obnoxious.

The bill was withdrawn after the senate’s committee on human rights and legal matters in a report said the provision of the bill will conflict with some already available laws.

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