“Many have even asked us if another ban is in the offing. Let me say this: We are closely monitoring the evolving developments at Twitter,” said the information minister.
President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime is wary of Twitter following the recent takeover by Tesla CEO Elon Musk as information minister Lai Mohammed reveals the regime is watching the micro-blogging platform closely to stop it from destabilising Nigeria.
Mr Mohammed declared that the Buhari regime would not allow Twitter and other social media platforms to destabilise Nigeria. He stated this on Thursday in Abuja at the third edition of the ‘President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration (PMB) Scorecard 2015-2023’ programme.
“Many have even asked us if another ban is in the offing. Let me say this: We are closely monitoring the evolving developments at Twitter. It has never been our intention to ban any social media platform or stifle free speech,” the information minister claimed. “Not at all. But we will also not sit by and allow any platform whatsoever to throw our nation into crisis.”
Mr Mohammed said the warning to the social media platforms became imperative because of the spike in fake news and disinformation following the change in ownership of a micro-blogging site.
“Permit me to quickly address an issue that has elicited a lot of inquiries from the media in recent times. Many of your colleagues have called to ask us what will become of our agreement with Twitter in view of the change in its ownership,” the minister stated. “Many have asked for our reaction following reports that there has been a spike in fake news, disinformation and hate speech since the micro-blogging site changed ownership.”
The minister recalled how the Buhari regime in June last year clamped down on Twitter in the country. The regime lifted the Twitter ban in January this year after the social media platform agreed to regulate its posts, pay an applicable tax and establish a legal entity within the country, among other conditions.
“What happened in the case of Twitter is well known to all. Twitter became a platform of choice for those who want to destabilise Nigeria using fake news, disinformation and hate speech,” Mr Mohammed insisted. “No nation will allow any social media platform to plunge it into anarchy. Definitely not Nigeria.”
However, he noted that “we have continued to engage positively with the different social media platforms,” including Facebook, Google (owners of YouTube) and Twitter.
“We have no intention of banning any social media platform again,” Mr Mohammed stressed.