There had been many rumors and speculations that Nigerian government were planning to shutdown social media during the EndSars protest in the country.
But new information had surface on the internet that both the Federal and State government did not authorized the shutting down of the internet. As confirmed by the Minister of Youth and Sports Development, Sunday Dare, he said “the Federal Government had the option of shutting down the social media space during the #EndSARS protests but chose not to tread the path”.
According to Sunday Dare while speaking to Channels Television’s correspondent on the TV programme Sunrise Daily, s he said “the government did that to allow freedom of expression”. But this statement did not go down with a lot of Nigerians who in multiple opinions had said “what this government did not understand is that the shooting that happened in Toll Gate, Lekki was a truncation of the citizens freedom of expression and movement”.
The protest which was a peaceful one resulted to massive shooting and killings. Then what right are they speaking of protecting again? These and many questions are been asked by a lot of Nigerians.
Furthermore, Minister of youth and development, Sunday Dare had commended the use of social media in fostering the movement of the EndSars protest but has insist that government set up a regulation body to monitor the posts and videos that are circulated online. Though the use of social media had brought the rise of fake news in circulation and there is a need to monitor them. But the shutting down of social media or regulation of citizen activities online could truncate the rights of speech and expression of the citizenry.
Social media in the past years has act as an excellent tool in fostering unity and peace between different tribes and ethnic groups. So we shouldn’t because of this destroy our joy but we should thread carefully and reasonably. Instead of looking at the disadvantages alone we should also try and see the positive side of the use social media in our country Nigeria.
In addition, to regulate the use of social media government must do it in a way that it does not go against the rights of her citizens. As confirmed by Sunday Dare “Where you have fake news destroying lives, the government has a responsibility to make sure that there is a level of control, for it isn’t media control but some level of regulation” the minister stated. But when the control go against the freedom of expression and speech then there is bound to be a problem.
The problem might even be more than what we saw in the #EndSars protest. We don’t want such again to repeat itself again in our country because the after effects as we had seen in the EndSars protest was devastating. So intelligence and deep thinking must be incorporated on this issue before taken any decision.
Finally, it is advisable Nigerians stop the spread of fake news so they won’t force federal government to implement measures and control on the use of social media. While on the other hand, government should allow it citizens to voice and express themselves in whatever form or medium they utilize as far as it does not defame or libel against anybody.
Shutting down the internet or social media is not the best solution as it will only increase the present tension on ground. So it is imperative both parties act matured without violating anybody rights or character. Government need to listen the opinion of the masses before taken any drastic step on this issue else it risk starting another worldwide protest and violence in the country.
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