Lai Mohammed says there are no plans to ban Facebook.
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, has stated that the federal government has no plans to block Facebook because of alleged inciting statements made by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He made the remarks while addressing questions from State House media after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Presidential Villa in Abuja, which was presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The minister had requested Facebook to prohibit IPOB from using its platform to promote violence at a meeting with a team from the social media company on Tuesday in Abuja.
He said that the group’s operations had resulted in the deaths of victims.
When asked if the Federal Government was considering banning Facebook like it did Twitter over IPOB’s alleged incitement to violence, Mohammed said no such plan was in the works because the government had a good talk with the social media platform.
“I had a very successful meeting with Facebook yesterday,” he says (Tuesday). We voiced our displeasure at that meeting that Facebook was becoming a power of choice for individuals living outside Nigeria, in particular, to encourage violence, killings, burning of government facilities, and the murder of troops and police officers.
And that they should go above and above what they are doing today in terms of reviewing the unwholesome stuff that is being shared on their platforms.
In a programme on the subject, the BBC discovered that some of those who term themselves social media warriors in England, France, and other countries have been using the Facebook platform to foment violence in Nigeria in recent times..
“Over this weekend in Anambra state, policemen were killed, and military facilities were attacked,” says the report. We also advised Facebook to go above and beyond what they are currently doing. And I must say, their answer was very positive. They told me you were going to accomplish a lot more.”
“I think I gave you an answer,” he responded when asked if there was any plan to ban Facebook if the incitement to violence persisted. We had a lengthy conversation with Facebook. Facebook recognised our point and stated that they will go above and beyond what they are already doing. So why would we ban them if they do that?
“We don’t ban just to ban.” We only ban or suspend activities when lives are threatened and they refuse to listen. However, this is a matter of engagement.”