By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THE Federal Government said yesterday it had no intention to ban Facebook over alleged inciting statements by the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
The Minister of information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, stated this while fielding questions from State House correspondents at the end of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting, presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Council Chambers, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Recall that Alhaji Mohammed had at a meeting with a team from Facebook in Abuja on Tuesday, asked the social media platform to prevent IPOB from using its platform to incite violence.
He had said people had been killed because of the group’s activities.
But asked whether the Federal Government was contemplating banning Facebook as it did to Twitter over alleged inciting statements by IPOB, Alhaji Mohammed said no such plan yet, as the government had a fruitful discussion with the social media platform.
The minister said: “I had a very fruitful meeting with Facebook yesterday (Tuesday). At that meeting, we expressed our displeasure that Facebook was becoming a power of choice for those who stay outside Nigeria, in particular, to incite violence, killings, burning of government properties, killing of soldiers and policemen.
“That they should do more than what they are doing now in looking at the contents, which are unwholesome, which are being used on their platforms.
“Incidentally, the BBC did a documentary on this particular issue and found that some of them who call themselves social media warriors in England, in France and other places, have in recent times, be using the Facebook platform to incite violence in Nigeria.
”We’ve all seen the real life impact of those war-mongering, the young couple who are going to marry, soldiers who were gruesomely murdered.
“Over this weekend in Anambra State, police men were killed, military barracks were attacked. And we did warn Facebook to please do more than what they are doing now. And I must say that their response was quite encouraging. They said they are going to do much more.”
Asked whether there was any plan to ban Facebook, if the inciting violence continues, he said: “I think I gave you an answer. We had a very robust discussion with Facebook. Facebook saw our point and they said they’re going to do much more than what they are doing. So if they do that, why should we ban them?
“We don’t ban for banning sake. We ban or we only suspend operations if for any reason, lives are threatened and they do not listen.”