Nigeria’s opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has rejected attempts by the President Muhammadu Buhari government to regulate social media in the country.
The Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed had last week insisted that the government must regulate social media to check what he called fake news.
His call was supported by Northern Governors Forum which on Monday expressed support for the efforts to regulate the social media in order to check the spread of fake news in the country.
The Forum expressed its support in a communique issued by its Chairperson and Governor of Plateau, Simon Lalong, after its meeting in Kaduna with traditional rulers and other key stakeholders in the region.
However, the PDP in a statement issued by its national Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja, on Wednesday, described the attempt as unconstitutional, anti-people and a plot to silence Nigerians.
According to the spokesperson, the attempt to censor the social media was targeted at muzzling outspoken Nigerians.
He argued that the plot is to silence the youths, the media and civil society organisations demanding accountability and competence from government.
“Our party rejects the claims that the regulation bill is targeted at checking fake news,” he said.
“This is because our nation already has enough implementable laws to counter the dissemination of fake news and punish offenders.’’
Mr Ologbondiyan said that instead of curtailing citizens’ constitutionally guaranteed rights, government should rather take steps to reassure Nigerians of efforts to address corruption, treasury looting, abuse of human rights, nepotism and unaccountability.
He advised the All Progressives Congress government to become more accountable, particularly in exposing corrupt officials including those alleged to be involved in diversion of funds voted for COVID-19 palliatives.
The PDP spokesperson said while the party does not in any way condone the dissemination of fake news, it rejects the attempt to hide under fake news to use regulation of social media for selfish political reasons.