'We'll respect freedom of speech, but social media influencers must tread carefully' - Minister cautions

Lai Mohammed emphasised that social media influencers must thread carefully in dealing with "issues of national unity, issues of Nigeria’s sovereignty.

Lai Mohammed

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on Social Media influencers to, in good fate, self regulate as the Buhari administration will not regulate the platform or infringe on the citizens' right to free speech.

Mohammed gave the assurance during a meeting with a cross section of Social Media Influencers in Lagos on Monday, November 23.

The Minister emphasised that the individuals must tread carefully in dealing with "issues of national unity, issues of Nigeria’s sovereignty, as well as issues concerning the lives and well-being of Nigerians."

”Let me assure you that the Federal Government does not intend to stifle free speech or abridge the rights of Nigerians to air their views freely. We are not about to regulate or stultify the Social Media," he said while encouraging them to weed out the impostors among them.

Mohammed condemned the hatred-filled debate against the government carried out on Social Media, noting that its mostly among the educated Nigerians. He said this, if not checked, threatens national unity.

Mohammed said, ”What I am saying in essence is that you must self-regulate in order not to self-destruct. Self-regulation allows you to weed out the charlatans among you in order to maintain your credibility and ensure your survival. Lose credibility and lose it all. That is the stark reality. If you must survive and grow, you must not compromise your credibility.

”A marriage between Nigerians of different tribes that should be hailed for solidifying our unity as a people has become one of the reasons to vent incredible hatred and openly predict catastrophe for our nation on the Social Media. The New Media is a powerful platform that has democratized access to information and strengthened citizen journalism. But it is also a double-edged sword that must be wielded with caution.”

While acknowledging the power of Social Media and its influencers, he assured them that his office would always be open for them to seek facts and figures on any issue.

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