A file photo of the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has
asked Facebook and other social media platforms to stop allowing the
proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to use their platforms
to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
The Minister made the demand in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with a
team from Facebook, according to a statement signed by spokesperson Segun Adeyemi.
He said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist
organization, Facebook has no justification for yielding its platform
to the organization to further its campaign of hate 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,” Mohammed said.
“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. 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.”
He said the actions of the proscribed group have real-life
implications, adding: ”By purveying hate and inciting violence,
people are getting killed while private and public property are being
attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of
government are their choice targets.”
The Minister said despite the numerous complaints to Facebook on the
activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail
the group’s excesses on the social media platform.
“Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists,
anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their
atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses
that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.
Most often than not, nothing is done about such complaints… The
truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere
tokenism and is totally ineffective,” he said.
Mohammed said the government would be monitoring Facebook and
other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with
the demand, as it steps up the campaign for the responsible use of
“We have always advocated a responsible use of social media, and
consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this.
Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media.
They are wrong, because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians
from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a
responsible use of social media,” he said.