The Federal government has announced it has no claims of censoring the access Nigerians have to the internet.
The news that it was planning to monitor the social media posts of notable Nigerians in order to curb hate speech among elites attracted the ire of the public.
But the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, has come out to say that the Nigerian citizenry is free to discuss government policies and engage in responsible political debates, expose corruption and decently express their opinions via the social media, without the use of maligning or hate speech.
He stated this in Abuja while addressing participants at the venue of a National Social Media Retreat on the theme ‘Social Media for Good Governance.’
The Minister charged operators of social media platform to guard against the distractions the social media generates and focus on their respective key deliverables.
‘It behooves everyone here to imbibe and promote the ideas of excellent government-citizen interaction based on the use of cultured language, publication of facts and respect for the governed as the source from which government derives legitimacy’, he said.
Shittu explained that allowing freedom of expression on the internet is proof that the federal government genuinely adheres to the principles of democracy.
He disclosed that the federal government would adopt social media in carrying out e-service delivery and use same, to shape the government’s policies for good governance.
The minister stated that government would also propound friendly and secure policies that will ensure the use of technology-based social media which are development-driven and urged key players in the private sector to take advantage of the social media to promote a positive image for Nigeria.
In her address, Mrs. Nkechi Ejele, permanent secretary, Ministry of Communications, said government realizes the importance of social media tools and their applications for the dissemination of government policies.