Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism
The power and impact on society that social media wields cannot be overemphasized. It has become the fastest and biggest platform for information dissemination, civil rights education, keeping tabs with the government, and being a member of society. Although the benefits of social media are quite endless, in the hands of the wrong people, they can be used to cause chaos and incite violence. Take the January 6th Capitol riots for instance. One can see the huge role social media played in the unfortunate incident.
The Nigerian government has warned social media companies such as Meta (which owns family of apps – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp) from allowing their platforms to be an enabling environment for members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to incite violence and tribal crimes in the country.
The warning came through Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information, Culture, and Tourism, while at a meeting with a team from Meta’s Facebook. In a statement signed by his media aide Mr. Segun Adeyemi, Lai Mohammed said IPOB has been tagged a terrorist organization and therefore Facebook had no justifiable reason to continue to allow its platform to be an enabler for IPOB activities which envelope hate crimes and destabilization 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 instigate 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,” the Minister said adding that “They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers, who are in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed, and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them.”