ABUJA – (Federal Ministry of Communications Report) – The Minister of Communications, Adebayo Shittu (Dr) has urged Nigerian citizens to feel free to discuss government policies and engage in responsible political debates, expose corruption and decently express their opinions via the social media, without the use of maligning or hate speech.
He stated this recently in Abuja, while addressing participants at the venue of a National Social Media Retreat on the theme: “Social Media for Good Governance”. The Minister charged operators of social media platforms to guard against the distractions which social media generates and focus on their respective key deliverables.
“It behooves everyone here to imbibe and promote the ideas of excellent government-citizen interaction based on the use of cultured language, publication of facts and respect for the governed as the source from which Government derives legitimacy,” he intensified.
While explaining that allowing freedom of expression on the internet is proof that the Federal Government genuinely adheres to the principles of democracy, he disclosed that the Federal Government would adopt social media in carrying out e-service delivery and use same to shape Government policies for good governance.
The Minister stated that Government would propound friendly and secure policies that would ensure the use of technology-based social media which are development – driven and urged key players in the private sector to take advantage of the social media to achieve positive image for Nigeria. According to him, the national retreat which has been conceived and birthed by the Federal Ministry of Communications was designed to among other things share knowledge and information stemming from recent research and analysis on the social media.
He added that the Federal Ministry of Communications shall train and retrain IT and Information Officers in the civil service to manage any misinformation being spread on the new media.
In her address at the occasion, the Permanent Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Communications, Nkechi Ejele stated that it was for Government’s realisation of the importance of social media tools and their applications for the dissemination of government policies that the event was organized.
“Social media is perhaps one of the most innovative inventions of recent times, with technology evolving inventions at an exponential pace. And with its relentless self-integration into various facets of our daily and national lives, it is vital that governance, the most important aspect of national life is not left behind,” she noted.
Earlier in his address, the representative of the Chief of Army Staff, Samuel Odugu (Brigadier General) pointed out the military’s discovery that internet has been a veritable tool for the distribution of information, saying this has led to the establishment of a Cyber Army Command with a report centre that serves the current information need of the public.
Samuel Odugu urged social media users to watch what they post and verify the fact to desist from broadcasting unverified information to the public, adding that social media users should stop castigating the military with false and baseless rumors.