The Federal Government has asked Facebook to stop the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) from using its platform to incite violence and ethnic hatred in Nigeria.
Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed made the demand in Abuja on Tuesday at a meeting with a team from Facebook.
The minister, according to a statement released by his spokesperson Segun Adeyemi, noted that since IPOB had been proscribed and classified as a terrorist organisation in the country, Facebook has no justification to continue allowing the group to use its platform to further its campaign of hate and destabilisation.
“I have called this meeting to enable us to discuss the increasing use of Facebook by separatists and anarchists, especially those of them 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 are 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,” the minister said.
Mohammed said despite numerous complaints to Facebook about the activities of IPOB, nothing has been done by the company to curtail the group’s excesses on the social media platform.
“Our social media people have been monitoring these separatists, anarchists and purveyors of hate, and have been reporting their atrocious actions to Facebook, but all they get are default responses that their complaints have been received and are being looked into.
“Most often than not, nothing is done about such complaints. The truth is that whatever Facebook is doing to check these people is mere tokenism and is totally ineffective.”
Mohammed added that the Nigerian government would be monitoring Facebook and other platforms closely in the days ahead to ensure compliance with the demand