NewsReport gathered that Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, has ordered Facebook and other social media sites to stop allowing the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to use their platforms to encourage violence and ethnic hatred in the country.
The minister made the demand at a meeting with a Facebook team in Abuja on Tuesday.
He claimed that since IPOB had been designated as a terrorist organisation, Facebook had no reason for allowing the group to use its platform to spread its hate campaign and destabilisation of the country.
“I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them based outside the country, to incite violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.”
For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements, and hate speech. They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in the thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as “saboteurs” who must be attacked, maimed and killed.
He stated that the proscribed group’s actions have real-world consequences, adding, “By spreading hatred and inciting violence, people are being killed, while private and public property is being attacked and destroyed.”Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets. ”
The Minister said despite the numerous complaints to Facebook about the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.
“Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists, and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.” Most often than not, nothing is done about such complaints. “The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of social media.
“We have always advocated a responsible use of social media and have consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this.” Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media. They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media, “he said.
Special Assistant to the President (Media)
The Office of the Minister of Information and Culture
May 17, 2022