President Bola Tinubu’s chief of staff, Femi Gbajabiamila, has said that social media has become a societal menace and must be regulated.
PUNCH reported that Gbajabiamila said this while representing Tinubu at the public presentation of a book, “Nigerian Public Discourse: The Interplay of Empirical Evidence and Hyperbole” written by a former Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, in Lagos
This is according to a Thursday statement by Tunde Alao, the senior special assistant to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu (Media), Office of the Lagos State Deputy Governor.
“The social media has become a societal menace and must be regulated. As many people do not understand that once the send button is hit, there is a potential to reach millions of people around the world which is capable of causing a great danger not just in the society but even unintended consequences to the individuals that are receiving information which may include security of life,” the statement quoted Gbajabiamila as saying.
Governor Sanwo-Olu was also represented at the event by his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat.
The statement noted that Tinubu maintained that his administration had an obligation to engage in evidence-based discussion and data-reliant decision-making, hence, the need for accurate data that would be used for better policy formulation and execution.
“As citizens become more interested in governance, it is the government’s obligation to ensure that engagement with citizens springs with shared agreement on what the truth is, what is real and what is not,” Gbajabiamila said.
The president commended the author for putting in book form his thoughts and experience garnered both as a governor and member of the federal executive council.
Speaking at the event, Hamzat noted that accurate data would help in finding lasting solutions to myriads of challenges facing the nation adding that “for a developing country like us, part of the problem we have is that we don’t have data, which is very crucial for policy formulation for national development.”
While stressing the importance of data, he noted that “deterministic data is essential even in our daily lives, even on issues such as building – buildings require correct data to know the threats.”
In his remarks, the book author, Fashola, disclosed that the book was written based on his 21 years of experience as a public office holder, highlighting different public issues.
“My joy is that the conversation has just started, and by and large, we will get good and positive results in our quests for national development”, Fashola was quoted as saying.
In August 2023, the NetRights Coalition expressed dismay over the statement credited to Mr. Dele Alake, then ministerial nominee and President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, during his ministerial screening on the floor of the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, August 2, 2023.
During the session, Mr. Alake said:
“I will recommend the strengthening of our regulations and the applications of those laws. The laws must be tested so we can know the proficiency of those regulations…..“I will support anything that comes from this hallowed chamber that promotes that course of action….“If there are laws, bills and motions in line with this, please be sure of our full cooperation.”
The NetRights Coalition in a statement, said this disposition spells danger for freedom of expression in Nigeria “and we expect that Mr. Alake, an experienced media practitioner himself, understands the risks. The Nigeria Senate has a terrible record of initiating poorly thought-out, control-seeking social media regulations”.
“In 2015, the Senate introduced a bill called the Frivolous Petition Bill which sought to repress online speech.
The bill was withdrawn from the Senate due to heavy criticism from citizens, civil society, and various stakeholders.