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After battling Twitter, Nigeria's Information Minister seems to be shifting focus to Facebook, others

May 18th 2022, 4:22:12 pm

When Nigerias Information Minister, Lai Mohammed, met with Facebook executives in Abuja earlier this week, he had one clear message —curtail hate speech now!

Nigeria's Information Minister, Lai Mohammed

According to the minister, Facebook hasn't done enough in this regard. He cited an example of separatist group the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB); describing it as a "terrorist organisation" and complaining that the social media giant has failed to do something about the alleged hate speech being disseminated on the platform by the "terror group".

"Facebook has no justification for yielding its platform to the organisation to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation of the country," the minister said.

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Do note that the minister specifically summoned the Facebook officials for deliberations on how to curtail the use of social media by separatists and terrorists in spreading their messages.

It should be recalled that the need to curtail hate speech was one of the arguments Lai Mohammed and his team put forward during the government's recent face-off with Twitter. And after battling the microblogging site and forcing it to accept a number of conditions, the minister said the government has now switched focus to monitoring Meta and its subsidiaries towards ensuring that the tech giant commits to curbing hate speech.

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The move comes as the Nigerian Government steps up its campaign for what has been described as "responsible use of social media," Reuters quoted the minister to have said.

Lai Mohammed did claim that the President Muhammadu Buhari led government does not intend to prevent Nigerians from using social media. However, the government would love to see measures put in place to guarantee 'responsible use', he said.

Across Africa, many governments are stepping up to regulate the activities of social media giants. The efforts so far have included a combination of policies, stakeholder engagements and even partial bans in places like Nigeria, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Sudan, etc.

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Emmanuel Abara Benson

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