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Despite opposition, Buhari government proceeds with social media regulation

Mr. Mohammed had on October 8 solicited the support of the parliament in formulating a national policy on use of social media.

• November 28, 2020
President Buhari and Lai Mohammed
President Buhari and Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has vowed to sustain its effort towards ensuring censorship of the social media in Nigeria.

Information minister Lai Mohammed told the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria that the Buhari administration will not renege on the proposed regulation, irrespective of the furore the move has ignited among Nigerians.

“I want to confirm that we will definitely act to ensure the responsible use of social media,” Mr. Mohammed said in a meeting with BON on Friday in Abuja. “You may call that regulation,” he added.

The minister, who has repeatedly smeared the social media as a tool for dissemination of hate speech and fake news, stated that the planned censorship was targeted at individuals who “weaponise” social networking platforms.

Peoples Gazette reported that Mr. Mohammed had on October 8 solicited the support of the federal parliament in formulating a national policy on use of social media.

The minister had also strongly refuted reports of multiple casualty at the Lekki toll plaza, when troops of the Nigerian Army opened fire on unarmed protesters on October 20.

Mr. Mohammed, who discredited credible video evidences pieced together by both foreign and international news networks, claimed that the carnage only happened on social media.

“There was no massacre at the Lekki Toll Gate. The only massacre that took place during the #EndSARS protest was the social media massacre,” Mr. Mohammed said at a meeting with South-east leaders on November 7.

Nigerians have vowed to resist the policy until it is withdrawn by the administration, which already has a reputation of unprovoked crackdown on free speech and media. The latest push to control social media adds to numerous attempts made since Mr. Buhari assumed power in 2015, all of which were shut down amidst public outrage.

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