The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said that the online media report saying he (Lai Mohammed) “sneaked out of Nigeria to meet with Twitter executives in the U.S.” is fake.
Mohammed said the engagement between Twitter and the Federal Government on how to resolve the issue of the ban had reached an advanced stage.
In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Washington on Wednesday, the minister said his official visit to the U.S. has nothing to do with the microblogging and social networking platform.
Lai Mohammed said he was in the U.S. to meet with international media organizations and think tanks on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and efforts made so far in tackling insurgency, banditry, and all forms of criminality.
He said the online report was an example of the country’s dangerous fake news and unregulated social media portend.
“Can a minister sneak out of Nigeria without people knowing?
“When you say I sneaked out of Nigeria, are you saying I went to board at a terminal where nobody is, or I travel to the Republic of Benin to fly out of the country?
“I was at an international airport, where I presented myself openly, and I was checked in at the counter like every other traveler of the airline.
“I boarded and passed through the checks by the Immigration Service and Customs.
“How can you come and say I sneaked out of the country?’’.
The minister who had engaged with the BBC Radio and TV, Bloomberg, and Politico during his visit to Washington DC, said he had no mission with Twitter.
“You and I have been here, have I met with any Twitter official?
“When you talk about fake news and its danger, we need to take it seriously, and I am happy that the entire world is now seeing what we saw more than two years ago.
“I can assure you that we will not rest until we regulate the social media; otherwise, nobody will survive it,’’ he said.
The minister reiterated the position that the Federal Government suspended Twitter operations in the country not because it deleted the tweet by the President as being propagated in some sections of the media.
He said the government suspended the operation of the microblogging medium because of its persistent use of its platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He also underscored the need for the organization to register as a business entity and obtain a license from the National Broadcasting Commission to carry out its activities.
Lai Mohammed said the engagement between Twitter and the Federal Government on how to resolve the issue of the ban had reached an advanced stage.
News Agency Of Nigeria