The President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Olumide Akpata, said the Federal Government’s plan to introduce regulation of social media after the #EndSARS protests are suspicious, as the social media space is already regulated.
Mr. Akpata disclosed this in an interview with Channels TV on Sunday.
What you should know
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, last week said the Federal Government has no plans of shutting down social media but must regulate it to prevent the spread of hate speech.
“They (#EndSARS protesters) mobilized using social media. The war today revolves around two things. Smartphones and data and these young men don’t even watch television or listen to the radio or read newspapers.
“We are sitting on a time bomb regarding this issue of fake news. Unfortunately, we have no national policy on social media and we need one,” Lai Mohammed said.
Mr. Akpata said in his interview that social media is already regulated, as he struggles to see if Nigeria wants to regulate or shut down social media.
“I struggle with the terms that we bandy around. As I said, I think the social media space is regulated already.
“Are we saying regulate or shutdown? What are we saying because we hear them using regulate? We hear the minister of Information use the word ‘sanitize.’ I just say to myself, ‘what are we trying to do?’ The timing is suspicious.
“And if we need to tweak the laws here and there, as we amend our laws every day to meet with issues that may come up, which were not previously contemplated, we are all well and good,” Akpata said.
He also added that going overboard would not be advisable, as the government’s plans may not work.
“But it is not throwing out the baby and the bathwater approach like I suspect is in contemplation by those who are handling the levers of power today. That is not going to work,” he said.