Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says the National Broadcasting Commission, will immediately commence the process of licensing all social media operations in Nigeria. The NBC is the regulator of all radio and television stations in Nigeria.
The minister announced this just as he said the Federal Government has also suspended micro-blogging platform, Twitter, which is popularly used by Nigerian youths, elite and the middle class.
The government’s action followed Twitter’s deletion of a ‘civil war’ post by the Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, which the social media platform said violated its policies.
Other social media platforms used by Nigerians include Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube, amongst others.
In a statement on Friday by the minister’s Special Assistant on Media, Segun Adeyemi, the minister said the measure is with immediate effect.
However, checks by our correspondent showed that Twitter is still up in Nigeria as of the time of filing this report as users still have access to the platform. The minister’s statement was also silent on the time that the ban would be enforced.
The statement titled, ‘FG Suspends Twitter’s Operations in Nigeria’, read, “The Federal Government has suspended, indefinitely, the operations of the microblogging and social networking service, Twitter, in Nigeria.
“The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, announced the suspension in a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, citing the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
“The Minister said the Federal Government has also directed the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately commence the process of licensing all OTT and social media operations in Nigeria.”
The Buhari regime has in recent time sought stiffer penalties for persons who “misuse social media”.
The Senate is currently deliberating on Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019 commonly known as the anti-social media bill.
It seeks to criminalise the use of social media in peddling false or malicious information. It was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Musa, a member of the President’s All Progressives Congress.