Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, says the federal government will not rest until social media platforms are regulated.
The minister, in an interview with NAN in Washington, on Wednesday, said the dangers of fake news on social media must be taken seriously.
Mohammed also explained that the online media report that he “sneaked out of Nigeria to meet with Twitter executives’’ in the US is fake.
The minister said he came to the US to meet with international media organisations and think-tanks on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, and efforts made so far in tackling insurgency, banditry, and all forms of criminality.
The minister, who has so far engaged with the BBC, Bloomberg, and Politico during his visit to Washington DC, said he hasn’t met with Twitter.
“Can a minister sneak out of Nigeria without people knowing? When you say I sneaked out of Nigeria, are you saying I went to board at a terminal where nobody is, or I travelled to the Republic of Benin to fly out of the country?” he asked.
“I was at an international airport, where I presented myself openly and I was checked in at the counter like every other traveller of the airline. I boarded and passed through the checks by the immigration service and customs.
“How can you come and say I sneaked out of the country? You and I have been here, have I met with any Twitter official?
“When you talk about fake news and its dangers, we need to take it seriously, and I am happy that the entire world is now seeing what we saw more than two years ago. I can assure you that we will not rest until we regulate the social media. Otherwise, nobody will survive it.”
On June 4, the federal government announced the indefinite suspension of Twitter’s operations in Nigeria.
Although the suspension came hours after a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari was deleted, the federal government said the decision was as a result of “the persistent use of the platform for activities that are capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence”.
Recently, the federal government said it is in talks with the microblogging platform, adding that the suspension will be lifted soon.