Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, says Hillary Clinton, the United States’ Secretary of States and former presidential candidate, lost the 2016 election against Donald Trump “because of social media”.
He made this comment on Wednesday before the House of Representatives Committee in defence of President Mohammadu Buhari’s decision to ban Twitter in the country.
“It was said that Hillary Clinton lost the last election because of social media,” he said.
“It was fake news. The first fake news is that she was suffering from very bad health. Secondly, it was that she had ties with terrorists. And I think the third fake news was that the Pope didn’t support her; that the Pope supported Trump and these were all fake news.”
It was the ministry headed by Mohammed that announced the ban while the Minister himself has also been the one of the most ardent supporters of social media regulation since 2015 that the bill was first proposed at the National Assembly.
The minister further reiterated the Federal Government’s commitment to the regulation of social media and online platforms operating in Nigeria.
According to him, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and National Communications Commission (NCC) would be used to implement the government’s plan.
“As we speak today, the UK, EU, Australia, Singapore, are all struggling to come up with laws to regulate social media,” he said.
“The thing about social media was that when they came, they were neither communication nor information. So, they were operating under the radar.
“And it was only recently that governments started realizing that social media [entrepreneurs] were doing business but were not licenced either in the EU or anywhere in the world. So, they decided to stop that — and they are causing a lot of trouble.
“So, the issue of fake news was not today and the struggle to regulate social media is not today. We will continue with both NBC and NCC. That is why the first thing we said here today was that all online media should come and register so we can know who you are and decide the dos and the don’ts.”
In an advertorial published in The Nation Newspapers on June 10, Idachaba Armstrong, the immediate past Director-General of NBC, had also asked all online broadcasting service providers and social media platforms in Nigeria to register to obtain a licence of operation.
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