GOVERNOR Hope Uzodinma of Imo state has expressed support for the move to regulate social media in Nigeria.
The governor made this known when he received Mohammed Adamu, Inspector General of Police, in Owerri, capital of Imo, on Thursday, saying he is strongly in support of the move.
“I am strongly advocating that social media should be regulated in Nigeria,” he said.
“Opposition party incited hoodlums to cause trouble in Imo, because the real protesters went off the street after my address and assurances to them.”
Adamu who claimed his men acted professionally all throughout the protest despite the provocations and killings of some of them, said he was in the state to boost the morale of his men and to access the level of damage done to police facilities in the state.
“I can tell you that our men acted professionally during the protest, they had their guns, they were being killed, yet they respected human dignity,” Adamu said.
“I came specifically to visit vandalised property and to see the level of damage done to police facilities in Imo.’’
Adamu said he would also address key police officers to encourage and boost their morale which he said was low due to the protest.
He said he would strengthen community policing and partner with relevant parties in achieving the aim.
Opposition party kicks
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) has tackled renewed calls by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), to regulate social media.
Kola Ologbondiyan, PDP National Publicity Secretary, said in a statement on Wednesday that the plan by the APC-led government is unconstitutional, anti-people and suppressive designed to “asphyxiate” Nigerians.
While stating that there are implementable laws in the nation’s law to curb fake news and to punish offenders, the opposition party emphasized that the move by the APC is targeted against outspoken Nigerians and media houses for demanding accountability from the federal government.
“The PDP asserts that the renewed frenzy to censor the social media is ostensibly targeted at muzzling outspoken Nigerians, particularly the youths, media and civil society organizations, from demanding for accountability and competence, as well as exposing the widespread corruption, unbridled treasury looting, barefaced injustice, human right abuses, constitutional violations and divisive actions of the APC administration,” the statement read.
“Our party rejects the claims that the regulation bill is targeted at checking fake news. This is because our nation already has enough implementable laws to counter the dissemination of fake news and punish offenders.
“It is clear that the APC administration is rather xenophobic of criticisms from citizens against its manifest atrocities that it seeks to surreptitiously reenact the obnoxious military decree 4 to suppress Nigerians.
“Instead of this desperation to gag the citizens and curtail their constitutionally guaranteed rights, our party counsels the APC administration to rather take steps to reassure Nigerians by ending its manifest corruption, treasury looting, abuse of human rights, nepotism and unaccountability for which the citizens demands answers.”
Rather than working hard to regulate the social media, the PDP counseled the federal government to become more accountable, particularly, by ending its arrogance as well as shielding corrupt officials, especially those allegedly involved in the criminal diversion of funds voted for COVID-19 palliatives.
Controversial social media bill
In 2019, a bill to regulate the social media space was proposed and sponsored by Muhammad Musa, an APC lawmaker representing Niger East senatorial district.
The bill christened the “Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill” better known as Social Media Bill prescribes sanction for abuse of social media was rejected by overwhelming Nigerians.
On Monday, the Northern Governors’ Forum shortly after its meeting in Kaduna, issued a communique issued by Simon Lalong, its Chairman and Governor of Plateau, to express support for the government’s move to regulate the social media.
The meeting, which said it took note of the devastating effect of the uncontrolled social media in spreading fake news, called for major control mechanisms and censorship of social media practice in Nigeria.