Stop allowing the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to use your platforms to ignite violence and ethnic hatred, the federal government has charged Facebook and other social media platforms.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at a meeting with a team from Facebook.
In a statement issued by his media aide, Mr. Segun Adeyemi, the minister said having been proscribed and classified as a terrorist group, it was improper for Facebook to continue to allow IPOB to use its platforms to carry out activities capable of destabilising the country.
Said Mohammed: “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.
“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 the 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 added: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed while the private and public property is being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.”
The minister said although there had been some complaints by the government on the use of Facebook by the proscribed group, nothing appeared to have been done.
“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.
He added: “We have always advocated responsible use of social media, and consistently called on all stakeholders to join us in achieving this. Some have tagged our efforts as an attempt to stifle social media. They are wrong because we have no intention of preventing Nigerians from using social media responsibly. All we have been advocating is a responsible use of social media.”