The Federal Government of Nigeria has cautioned social media giant, Facebook, to stop the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) from using its platform to incite violence and instigate ethnic hatred in the country, adding that it would monitor closely, activities on Facebook and other social media platforms. Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, stated this in Abuja at a meeting with a team from Facebook.
This warning is coming about one year after the federal government suspended another social media platform, Twitter, for allegedly promoting hate speech and other activities denigrating the country’s existence.
Mohammed told the delegation that several people have been killed in the South-East because of the group’s activities, adding that since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organization, Facebook has no justification for allowing the organization to carry out its campaigns of hate and destabilization of the country.
“I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those based outside the country, to instigate violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
“For whatever reason, they seem to have now chosen Facebook as their platform of choice. And their tools include disinformation, incendiary statements, and hate speech. They use Facebook broadcasts to reach their followers who number in thousands. They tag those opposed to their violent ways as ‘saboteurs’ who must be attacked, maimed, and killed. They use both English and their local language as it suits them,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed further stated the activities of IPOB have real-life implications, saying: “By purveying hate and inciting violence, people are getting killed, while private and public property are being attacked and destroyed. Security agencies and other symbols of government are their choice targets.’’
The minister also said despite the numerous complaints to Facebook about the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the platform.