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Children using social media to tackle parents at home: Lai Mohammed

The information minister listed many reasons to justify his unending quest to regulate social media before a House committee on Tuesday.

• October 28, 2020
Lai Mohammed
Minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed (Photo Credit: Twitter)

Lai Mohammed has yet to run out of pretexts to regulate social media. During an appearance before a House committee on Tuesday, the information minister listed several reasons to regulate what Nigerians say online and how they say it.

“You will be shocked that when you start arguing with your children, they will be quoting social media,” Mr. Mohammed said. “So, we need a social media policy in Nigeria and we need to empower the various agencies and we need technology to be able to regulate the social media.”

Earlier, Mr. Mohammed said social media should be regulated because China successfully did it. He, however, failed to mention that China is a communist enclave; while Nigeria is a constitutional republic.

Mr. Mohammed also cited a 2017 incident in which Audu Makori amplified a fake story about the killing of college students in Southern Kaduna. 

The Chocolate City boss later apologised after learning that the material was false, but was still arrested and his fundamental rights abused by Kaduna State under Nasir El-Rufai, who has long faced multiple allegations of rights abuses.

Mr. Maikori’s arrest despite a retraction and apology was deemed unconstitutional by a federal judge, who also awarded him financial damages. The judge in Abuja suggested that social media users are susceptible to errors just as traditional media practitioners regularly find themselves retracting published information. 

But Mr. Mohammed, 68, only sees problems with the social media, and has spent considerable political capital to stifle speech as an appointee of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose history is laced with gross human rights abuses.

Civic groups have relentlessly criticised Mr. Mohammed for his dangerous and outmoded view of speech, a fundamental right, promising to fight back against his controversial proposals. 

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