The Nigerian Government says the agreements it reached with Twitter to resume operations in the country were not meant to censor the microblogging site and other social media platforms in general.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who stated this on Saturday said that the agreement, to be extended to other social media platforms operating in the country, would ensure that only wholesome content were published by the platforms.
The Minister was speaking on “Radio Link’’, a phone-in programme of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria.
He reiterated the resolve of the government to regulate the social media in a manner that would not stifle the freedom of speech and expression, as well as strangulate the media.
“We are going to regulate the social media not because we want to stifle the media or we want to violate the right of expression.
“We want to ensure that only wholesome contents were available on the social media.
“Recently we were all shocked when an 18-year old boy, accused of killing his 21-year old girlfriend for money rituals, confessed that he leant the diabolical act on social media.
“The teenager, in collaboration with his friends, cut off the head of the victim and were burning it in a pot when they were apprehended.
“The government has the responsibility to ensure that social media platforms were responsible and the contents they displayed were not harmful to young people, as well as the unity of the country,’’ he said.
On the other agreements reached with Twitter, which the minister said would be applicable to other online platforms, the micro blogging site had agreed to open its Nigeria office within the first quarter of the 2022.
He said Twitter agreed to appoint a designated country representative within one month of lifting its suspension, while its global policy team will also be available to engage directly with the government.
The minister said Twitter agreed to meet all regulatory demands, including the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Nigeria Communication Commission laws and rules and the National Broadcasting Commission Code.
“Twitter also agreed to comply with all payable taxes, as they were operating under Nigerian laws and this they agreed to do within one week of restoring their operations.
“Twitter agreed to immediately work with the federal government in the area of code of conduct, that were in line with global best practices.
Twitter agreed to immediately enrol Nigerians in its Law Enforcement portals and Partners Support Portal.
“The law enforcement portal will provide dedicated channels for the Nigerian law enforcement agencies to escalate reports on contents that violate the code of conduct or national laws.
“Similarly, the partner support portal provides a direct channel for government to engage Twitter staff to manage prohibited contents,” he said.
He reiterated that relevant laws and the broadcasting code would be amended to ensure that the agreement reached with Twitter would be applicable to other social media platforms.
Agreements with Twitter is not censorship – Minister