Lai: Social media will destroy us if we don’t regulate it


Lai Mohammed, information minister, described the #EndSARS protest as a “war” fought with the help of social media.

When he appeared before the internal committee on information, national orientation, ethics and values ​​to defend the 2021 budget proposed by his ministry on Tuesday, Mohammed said that it is very important to regulate social media.

The minister said that although the government is not trying to shut down social media “because social media has come to stay”, it needs to control its excesses due to the rise in fake news and disinformation.

“The biggest challenge Nigeria faces today is fake news and disinformation,” he said.

“Based on this, we dedicated an entire national council on information meeting to this issue, after which we launched a national campaign against fake news in July 2018.

“We said, then, that the next war will be fought without firing a shot, but with the use of fake news.

“We didn’t stop there. We toured all the media houses to solicit their support in the fight against fake news. We launched the campaign to regulate social media, which was hotly contested by stakeholders. We kept saying that if we don’t regulate social media, it will destroy us. Social media and fake news will not destroy Nigeria.

“The recent #EndSARS war was fought on social media. They mobilized using social media. War today revolves around two things; smartphone and data. And these young people do not even watch television, nor listen to the radio, nor read the newspapers.

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

However, the members of the internal committee were divided against the minister.

Emmanuel Oghene, a member of the committee, warned against any attempt to shut down social media, saying young people could see it as an attempt to end the nation’s democracy.

Oghene said that while social media has its downsides, it also has advantages.

In August, Ajibola Basiru, a spokesman for the Senate, said lawmakers in the upper legislative chamber are it does not plan to pass a law to regulate social media.

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