The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has advised Nigerians to promote unity and national integration.
Malami, speaking on Monday at AIT News town hall meeting on hate speech and media regulation bills, lamented that some Nigerians use social media inappropriately.
Represented by his Special Assistant on Media, Dr.Umar Jibrilu Gwandu, the minister noted that the emergence and proliferation of information and communication technology tools has come with both positive and negatives implications.
“We need social media more in the areas of enhancing national unity, patriotism, human capacity development, including entrepreneurial skills, and not for tearing the nation apart.
“With the absence of gate-keeping process of the conventional media, individuals with neither the skills of information verification and no clues of what the reality is, take it upon themselves to be the purveyors of fake news, hatred and animosity.
“Some turned the platforms into avenues for committing heinous internet fraud and cybercrimes”.
Malami decried the rate at which the vituperation of acrimony and vilifying statements dominate the social media space, adding that “no society will fold its arms to allow such ominous trend to go unchecked”.
“It is the role played by the conventional media which at all times is expected to be targeted at good governance, national integration and enlightenment of the society for the better that distinguishes the mainstream media from the predator miscreants.
“They are bent on creating global information disorder characterized by misinformation and hate speeches; the natural consequence of which is societal disorder that blows ill-wind to the detriment of all.
“It is essential to note that Nigeria operates a constitutional democracy that guarantees freedom of expression thereby providing a conducive atmosphere and veritable platforms that enable Nigerians their inalienable fundamental right to unhindered ventilation of opinions.
‘Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is categorical in its provisions regarding freedom of expression,” Malami added.