Former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja who is also the Board of Trustee Chairman, North Central People’s Forum (NCPF), Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni has kicked against the move to regulate the social media in Nigeria.
Gen. Useini (rtd) disclosed this during an inaugural lecture of the Correspondents’ Chapel of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Plateau State with the theme: “Insecurity and the Quest for lasting peace in Nigeria: Role of the Media”.
The elder statesman said censoring the social media would have a negative effect on the traditional media and journalists in the country.
Useni who was represented by his media consultant, Hon. Yiljap Abraham declared “instead of regulating the social media, why not the authorities transform governance to make an impact in the lives of citizens?
“The social media platforms are already self-regulated by conditions that the news, conversations or dialogue taking place through the platform are monitored and controlled as defined guidelines by their various administrators.
“The danger of this move is when any regulatory agency becomes captured by the people it is supposed to regulate. For instance, a situation where an agency that is supposed to regulate social media is captured by politicians and activists who might want to use their position to suppress the arguments of their political opponents.”
He said the regulation of the social media will deny civil society and the public the opportunity to demand accountability and good governance from the constituted authority.
“While I do not condone the act of dissemination of fake news, I frown at the attempt to hide under fake news to regulate the social media for selfish reasons.”
Useni described journalists and the entire media practitioners as friends and defenders of the masses and to him in particular.
He supported the Correspondent’s Chapel of the NUJ with a donation to purchase a bus for their safety and convenience so as to give their best to the society.
He sympathized with the chapel over the demise of their colleagues some years back at Dankang as a result of the accident which occurred due to lack of a standard vehicle for their mobility.