Nigeria sets global pace in responsible use of social media – FG

The Federal Government says its successful negotiation with Twitter to ensure responsible use of the social media platforms is setting the pace globally as an example of efforts to prevent harmful content for social media.

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who disclosed this at a press conference in Ilorin on Sunday, said Nigeria was way ahead of several other countries, who have now realised that the social media platforms must be regulated for the interest of their people and the good of society.

Mohammed said the Nigerian government took that decision in realisation of the fact that there must be a country first, before any other thing.

He emphasised that the entity called Nigeria must be protected against social media abuse.

Alhaji Mohammed also decried the double standards expressed by some western entities when dealing with matters of protests and freedom as it affects Nigeria and how it plays out in their domains.

His words: “Recall, gentlemen, that during the #EndSars protest, which culminated in the blockage of public roads and massive destruction of government and private property, Canada was one of the countries that spoke out in support of the protesters.

“Recall also that Twitter actively supported the EndSars protesters and even helped them to raise funds, while GoFundMe was used to raise funds for the protests.

“These are the same entities that are now rushing to distance themselves from the protesters in Canada and even denying the use of their platforms.

“This is similar to what played out during the January 6th 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol In Washington, DC., where those involved are either still being investigated or have been charged to court.

“I don’t blame them. Nobody wants their country destroyed under the guise of protests”. The Minister likened a situation where protesting truckers, who are protesting over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions are tagged illegal and similar #Endsars protest in Nigeria tagged peaceful as double standard.

“The situation is that Canadian protesters, who have blockaded roads and resorted to inconveniencing others, have been branded as terrorists or insurrectionists and subjected to a number of clampdowns by government and private organisations.

“As a result, the crowdfunding company GoFundMe has shut down the campaign to raise funds for the truckers, after they raised over US$10m, Similarly, Micro blogging site, Twitter has suspended the truckers’ account, while the Ontario government has frozen access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the protesters.

“In another breath, Jim Watson, the Mayor of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, has also declared a state of emergency in the city in response, saying the protests posed a threat to residents’ safety.

“Don’t misunderstand this intervention. We are not gloating over the unfortunate development in Canada. But we are only calling attention to the double standard involved in the way protesters deemed to be violent are perceived in Nigeria and in the West.

“Those who referred to the hoodlums, who destroyed public and private property in Nigeria under the guise of #EndSars as peaceful protesters, have tagged similar protesters in their own countries as insurrectionists and terrorists.

“This glaring double standard should not be lost on all Nigerians. We have always said that you must have a country before you can even enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by your country’s constitution. If there is no Nigeria, no one will be talking of freedom of expression or freedom of association and the likes”, he added.

According to Alhaji Lai Mohammed, this realisation explains why every country goes the extra mile to protect and preserve itself.

He said, “And this also explains why we have continued to insist on the regulation of social media to ensure responsible content.

“In this area, I can confidently say we are far ahead of most countries in the world, who have now realised that social media must be regulated in the interest of their own people.

“In this regard, our successful negotiation with Twitter to fashion out measures to ensure a responsible use of that platform, which by the way, will also apply to other social media platforms, has made us a global trailblazer in efforts to prevent harmful content from social media platforms

“Gentlemen, we must not allow anyone to destroy our country under the guise of protest or unbridled freedoms. We all must put Nigeria first at all times.”

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