We Will Not Stifle Free Speech, But Social Media Influencers Must Self-Regulate – Minister




The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has

assured that the Buhari Administration will not stifle free speech by

seeking to regulate the Social Media or abridging the rights of the



The Minister, who gave the assurance in Lagos on Monday during a

meeting with a cross section of Social Media Influencers, however said

it is important for them to self regulate in order to maintain their



”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. This explains why we are asking you to self-regulate. That is

why we are encouraging you to rein in the impostors among you and show

restraint when dealing with issues of national unity, issues of

Nigeria’s sovereignty, as well as issues concerning the lives and

well-being of Nigerians.


”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,” he said.


The Minister described as alarming the spiralling level of hatred

among Nigerians, especially the educated ones, on the Social Media in

recent times, saying that the kind of debate that is being carried out

on the Social Media is exploiting the fault lines in our national



”It (hate debate) is adding fuel to some low-intensity fires and, if

left unchecked, could conflagrate and consume all of us. Remember, you

need a peaceful country before you can even dream of greatness. You

need a united, strong and virile country to provide the necessary

environment for your dreams to come true.


”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,” he said.


The Minister thanked the Social Media Influencers for their

contribution to the success of the last general elections in the

country that saw the emergence of the All Progressives Congress (APC)

as the ruling party, and urged them to partner with the Buhari

Administration to drive the change agenda, which is aimed at achieving

a paradigm shift in the way we do things.


”This is not a partisan call, since all Nigerians, irrespective of

their party affiliation, will benefit from a better Nigeria,” he



The Minister assured that his doors are open and that he is willing to

work with the Social Media Influencers in the interest of the good

people of Nigeria.


”Feel free to call us to clarify issues, obtain facts and figures on

issues of national interest and to also give us a feedback from the

citizens. You are great Influencers, and you set the agenda. There is

enormous power in your fingertips, and no one can ignore you,” he



Segun Adeyemi

SA to Hon. Minister of Information and Culture




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