The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu, has said the Federal Government or any of its agencies will not restrict access of Nigerians to social media.
But he quickly added that the social media space must be regulated to guard against abuse and hate speech.
Shittu disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a ‘Social Media for Good Governance’ retreat organised by Federal Ministry of Communications.
He said the retreat would expose all the options government can explore to promote good governance in Nigeria.
According to him, “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.’’
The minister also said: “Government will not limit Nigerians’ access to social media simply because of abuses. Nigerians must use it to express their views. Government will ensure easy interactive platform for the dissemination of its achievements.
“The parochial, religious and ethnic use of social media should be checked. Only an irresponsible government will allow unguarded use of social media.”
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Alhaji Abdullahi Mashi, represented by Mrs Moni Udoh, was of the view that social media is perhaps the most novel development in recent times, hence government cannot ignore it.
“People use it to voice their concerns and share their views and it has be one strong voice used to address government issues.
“The use of social media for hate speeches and false news should not be encouraged. Such acts must be condemned and sanctioned.
“Social media must be used to promote good governance. The ethnic coloration of social media must be discouraged,’’ he said.
The Director of Public Affairs of NCC, Tony Ojobo, explained that the root of all crises “is when there is a disconnect between the people giving out the message and the recipient.”