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FG threatens to suspend Facebook, WhatsApp in Nigeria

The Federal Government of Nigeria has threatened to suspend all social media platforms that allow their apps to be used to propagate division of the country through inflammatory statements or posts.

This is coming weeks after the government banned micro-blogging platform, Twitter, from being used.

Minister for Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed stated this before the House of Representatives Joint Committee on Information, Justice, and Communication on Tuesday at the National Assembly in Abuja while answering questions on the ban on Twitter, a microblogging site.

He said Twitter made its platform available as a choice for people who want to destabilise and cause disunity in Nigeria.

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On whether any channel of dialogue had been opened with Twitter, the minister said “we tried to but they rebuffed us. They are not known to us. They are not registered, but we hope we will be able to engage them”.

He also lamented that the organisation had no investment in Nigeria, but in Ghana, while the target market was Nigeria.

Mohammed also denied the widely held opinion that the move was intended to stifle free speech and press freedom.

“There was no intention of the federal government to stifle free speech in the country. The only reason we suspended Twitter is that it was promoting disunity. Its activities are inimical to the unity of the country,” Mohammed insisted.

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He said the government would not hesitate to suspend other social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, Google hangout, and others if they are found to be promoting posts or statements capable of destabilising the country.

Meanwhile, some of the committee members expressed concern at the decision and action of the executive to suspend Twitter, stating that the country was sliding into totalitarianism.

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