Social Media Platforms Must Register With Government – Lai Mohammed

Social Media Platforms Must Register With Government - Lai Mohammed

The Federal Government has insisted that Twitter and other social media plat­forms, like Facebook and In­stagram, must be registered in the country.

Minister of In­formation and Culture, Lai Mo­hammed who said this on Wednesday revealed that following suspension of its activities in Nigeria, Twitter has reached out to the Fed­eral Government seeking high-level discussion to re­solve the issue.

He disclosed this to State House correspondents after the meeting of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, saying that he got the mes­sage Wednesday morning.

He insisted that the mi­croblogging platform was suspended because it provid­ed an avenue for people that were threatening the corpo­rate existence of Nigeria.

According to him, the owner of Twitter helped to fund the recent #EndSARS protest while allowing the leader of the Indigenous Peo­ple of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, to use the platform to call for the killing of police­men.

He said Twitter failed to take down Kanu’s tweets despite repeated requests to do so.

Mohammed listed condi­tions that must be met even if there was a discussion with Twitter including that it must now be registered in Ni­geria as a business concern.

Apart from Twitter, he said other social media plat­forms like Facebook and Ins­tagram must be registered in the country.

According to the govern­ment spokesman, freedom of speech has not been stifled by the suspension of Twitter as he maintained that Nigeri­ans can still use other plat­forms such as Facebook and Instagram.

He also denied that the suspension is not effective, arguing that Twitter is los­ing money as a result of the action.

The minister stated; “Yes, it is true they’ve made, reached…only this morning I got, you know, communica­tion that yes, they are now ready to hold senior level dis­cussions with us. Just now, I just confirmed with my col­league now. Yes, we just got the information now”.

Asked whether govern­ment will hold the discus­sion with Twitter, he replied: “Why not? We will. But our conditions are already laid out to you. One, to do busi­ness in Nigeria, they must register as a Nigerian com­pany. Two, they must be li­censed and three, they will have to refrain from using the platform for activities that are inimical to the growth of Nigeria, to the corporate existence of Nigeria.

“From there, any other is­sue can come up. We already talked to them.”

The minister narrated why the social media giant was suspended in the coun­try saying: “As you are aware, last Friday, the Federal Gov­ernment suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria indefi­nitely, and the reason we gave was because of the persistent use of the Twitter platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.

“On Friday, also the gov­ernment directed the reg­ulatory body, the National Broadcasting Commission, to immediately commence the process of licencing all OTT, Over The Top social media operations in Nigeria.

“And I believe that we’ve done that I think by today, that advert is out asking that all OTT, and social media cov­erage operating in Nigeria should apply for registration and licensing.

“I want to repeat that is be­cause Twitter has consistent­ly made its platform available to those who are threatening Nigeria’s corporate exis­tence. That is the reason for suspending their operations in Nigeria.

“Because, we’ve found out that Twitter is actually the platform of choice for a particular separatist leader who resides outside the coun­try and issues directives to its members to attack symbols of government authority, such as the police, the mili­tary, the electoral commis­sion offices, correctional centres, etc. And this is being done willfully and consistent­ly without any consequences from Twitter.

“You know, no country worth its name will tolerate that. And no company, no matter its self-importance will force any nation to ac­cept this.

“It may interest you to know that most of the OTT and social media platforms operating in Nigeria do not have any office in Nigeria and do not pay taxes to Nige­rian government for the bil­lions they earn here. That is not the best practice globally, and that is why we are insist­ing that for you to operate in Nigeria you must first be a Nigerian company and be licensed by the broadcasting commission.

“Therefore, any OTT or social media platform oper­ating in Nigeria must do so legally. One, registered with Corporate Affairs Commis­sion, licensed by National Broadcasting Commission and then adhere to the con­ditions stipulated in their licences.

“We have already adver­tised the notice to the compa­nies concerned to apply for registration of licence.

“For those that have heard that Oh, the ban is not effec­tive, to the best of my knowl­edge, I think the ban is very effective.

“Otherwise, how would they be complaining that they are losing billions of naira everyday if the ban is not effective? But that is not the issue.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.