The House of Representatives has, however, warned against clamping down on free speech and press freedom.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed and the House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values were sharply divided on the matter on Tuesday.
Mohammed had appeared before the committee to defend the 2021 budget proposed by his ministry.
The minister, while responding to questions from members of the committee, noted that the next war to be fought in the country and across the world might be fought the social media, making reference to the ongoing #EndSARS protests.
Mohammed stated that the government was not seeking to shut down social media space in the country because “the social media has come to stay.”
He, however, stressed the need to have a policy that regulates social media and check fake news and misinformation.
He said, “The biggest challenge facing Nigeria today is fake news and misinformation. Based on that, we dedicated an entire National Council on Information’s meeting to that issue, after which we launched a national campaign against fake news in July 2018.
“We said, then, that the next war will be fought without a shot being fired, but with the use of fake news. We didn’t stop there. We went on a tour of all media houses to solicit their support in the fight against fake news. We launched the campaign to regulate social media, which was bitterly contested by the stakeholders. We kept saying that if we don’t regulate social media, it will destroy us. Social media and fake news will not destroy Nigeria.
“The recent #EndSARS war was fought on social media. They mobilised using the social media. The war today revolves around two things. Smartphone and data and these young men don’t even watch television or listen to radio or read newspapers. You will be shocked that when you start arguing with your children, they will be quoting the social media. So, we need a social media policy in Nigeria and we need to empower the various agencies and we need technology to be able to regulate the social media.”
Members of the committee, however, cautioned the minister.
A member, Emmanuel Oghene, warned against any attempt to shut down the social media in the country, saying the action will be counter-productive and would make the youths to believe that there is an attempt to truncate democracy in the country.
Oghene stated that it will be wrong to always look at the negative sides of the social media at all times without mentioning the good side.
You may be interested
‘Every child is valued’: Dowen College backs probe of Sylvester Oromoni ‘s deathWebby - December 5, 2021
File photo of the main entrance of Dowen College, Lekki Lagos.The Board and Management of Dowen College in Lagos, have…
Police Arrest Officers For Attacking LASTMA Official In LagosWebby - December 5, 2021
The police authorities have arrested some of its officers for allegedly attacking an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management…
BREAKING: Secret Police, DSS Invite Ex-Kogi Commissioner Over Comment On Sheikh Gumi’s Visit To OkunlandWebby - December 5, 2021
A former commissioner for education in Kogi State, Oluwayomi David Atte, has revealed that the Department of State Services (DSS)…