President Muhammadu Buhari’s spokesman Garba Shehu has called for the regulation of social media which according to him has led to lawlessness, violence and deaths.
The Presidential spokesperson who spoke at a media award event organised by Kawararafa Reporters, said the Nigerian government was not against free speech but against use of social media to wreck havoc.
Mr Shehu said;
“For instance, the entire Kasuwan Magani saga that resulted in the death of more than 50 people was because someone posted misleading information on WhatsApp that went viral.
“All countries in the world are trying to make laws to check the excesses. Many countries are trying to control the situation. The Europeans have placed a new law that holds the companies responsible.
“In United Kingdom, the parliament has received a report on social media. There is a youth addiction to it, just like cigarettes. Without any form of control, it has done harm to women, ethnic minorities, individuals, institutions and countries.
He also pointed out that journalists around the world undergo training, accreditation and licensing before practicing while social media users with a phone, a tablet or laptop anyone can reach millions, sometimes for good and other times with ulterior motives.
Garba Shehu further argued that the Nigerian constitution never anticipated social media, thus the need to tackle hate speech so Nigeria can be a sane place to live in.
“The federal government is saying that stakeholders should come together and agree on regulation. We know that no matter how bad the situation it favours someone.
“Some have argued that our constitution already has laws in libel, but the laws of the ‘60s never anticipated social media.
“No government has the right to muzzle freedom of speech. We don’t support the taking of lives as punishment. People insult others and share false information on social media. I hope that hate speech will be tackled so that Nigeria will be a sane place to live in.”