Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has asked Facebook to stop allowing the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to use the platform 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 his spokesperson, Segun Adeyemi, Mohammed said since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation, Facebook has no justification for yielding its platform to the organization to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation 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 was quoted as saying.
“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. 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 about 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 social media.
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