According to the Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, the government has no plans to restrict access of Nigerians on social media nor to limit their freedom of expression on the various platforms. He however said government cannot allow unguarded use of social media.
In 2016, the attention of the media was drawn to a purported anti-social media bill at the Senate which was aimed at “prohibiting frivolous petitions and other matters connected therewith.” Following public outcry, the bill was thrown out by the Senate. Since then, not a few persons have accused the President Muhammadu Buhari administration of trying to deny Nigerians their right to freedom of expression.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday at the ‘Social Media for Good Governance’ retreat organised by the Ministry of Communications, Shittu said the government is not planning to violate the rights of citizens but is however committed to promoting effective use of the social media and guard against abuse and hate speech.
“The parochial, religious and ethnic use of social media should be checked. Only an irresponsible government will allow unguarded use of social media,” Shittu said.
“Social media has suddenly turned most people who are not trained to journalists. It is important for government to pay attention to feedbacks from social media, review good practices and discuss issues relating to effective use of social media in Nigeria,” he said.