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We’ll regulate, not shut down, social media – FG

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Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has said the Federal Government has no intention of shutting down social media in the country.

Mohammed, however, said the government planned to regulate the operation of those using the social media platforms to address the menace of fake news in the country.

The minister stated this on Thursday during a press conference on the aftermath of the #EndSARS protests.

He said the spread of fake news through social media was responsible for the recent outbreak of violence across the country.

Many Nigerians have opposed the planned regulation of social media.

Already, a bill to effect the regulation has passed second reading at the Senate.

Mohammed said the government would forge ahead with the regulation of social media.

He said, “Keen watchers of the developments cannot fail to notice the role played by the social media in the EndSARS protest. As a veritable tool for mass mobilization, the organisers of the protest of course leveraged heavily social media for that purpose.

“But on the other hand, the same social media was used to spread fake news and disinformation that catalyzed the violence that was witnessed across the country.”

The minister also said, “This development has reinforced the campaign against fake news and disinformation, which we launched in 2018. As a matter of fact, as far back as 2017, when we dedicated that year’s National Council on Information to the issue of fake news and disinformation, we had been expressing concerns on the dangers posed by irresponsible use of the new media platform. The concerns culminated in the launch of the national campaign which I referred to earlier.

“The social media was used to guide arsonists and looters to certain properties, both public and private.

“As we have said many times, no responsible government will stand by and allow such abuse of social media to continue. The fake news/disinformation purveyors have latched on to our concerns to allege that the Federal Government is planning to shut down social media.

“No, we have no plans to shut down the social media. What we have always advocated, and what we will do, is to regulate the social media. Nigeria is not alone in this regard. The issue of social media regulation is an ongoing debate not just in Nigeria but around the world, including in the United States, which is the flag flyer of constitutional democracy. Even the owners of the various social media platforms, including Facebook, are increasingly joining the call for content regulation.”

Mohammed argued that if social media was left uncensored, there might not be a country left to defend.

He said, “What they have failed to understand is that the only reason we are even able to have this debate is because we have a country. If we allow the abuse of social media to precipitate uncontrolled internecine violence, the kind of which was narrowly averted during the EndSARS crisis, no one will remember or be able to use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc, for whatever purpose.

“It is incumbent upon us all, therefore, to strike a balance between free speech – which this Administration is committed to upholding – and fake news/disinformation, which it is determined to fight.”

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Rain wrecks havoc in Ogun community, destroys electric poles

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Rain wrecks havoc in Ogun community, destroys electric poles

Heavy rains yesterday pulled down several poles bearing electricity cables in Sango area of Ogun State.

The rain, which started around 1pm, was accompanied by strong wind, which damaged poles, throwing them into Sango road, causing obstruction, as cables fell on the road.
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A long bus painted in yellow colour and believed to be used to convey people going to a worship centre, was seen abandoned in the middle of the road after about three poles fell on it.

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Marafa tackles Matawalle over remarks against Northern Elders

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Bello Matawalle, Senator Kabiru Marafa

Marafa tackles Matawalle over remarks against Northern Elders

Senator Kabiru Marafa of Zamfara State, a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and coordinator of the Tinubu/Shettima 2023 Presidential Campaign in the state, has rebuked Mr Bello Matawalle, the Minister of State for Defence, for his disparaging remarks against Northern elders.

Matawalle, in a recent statement titled ‘Tinubu Presidency: Northern Elders Forum, a political burden to the North,’ labelled the Northern Elders as ‘paperweights’ and ‘a burden,’ asserting they don’t represent the region.

Responding to Matawalle’s statement, Marafa emphasized the importance of highlighting President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s accomplishments in the North during the first 10 months of his administration rather than demeaning Northern elders.

Marafa stressed that insulting the elders, who contributed significantly to Tinubu’s electoral success, undermines the president’s efforts to address various national challenges like terrorism, insurgency, and economic malfeasance.

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He reiterated that President Tinubu seeks support and hard work from his appointees to realize the Renewed Hope Agenda, emphasizing the need for respect and loyalty over sycophancy.

Marafa called on Matawalle to retract his offensive statement and promptly apologise to Northern elders and Northerners at large. He highlighted concerns from stakeholders that such remarks could impact Tinubu’s electoral prospects in the region.

Assuming his closeness to Tinubu and understanding of the president’s esteem for the North, Marafa clarified that Matawalle’s views were personal and not reflective of the president’s stance.

He concluded by affirming that Northern elders are integral to the region’s fabric and assured that President Tinubu shares this sentiment.

Marafa tackles Matawalle over remarks against Northern Elders

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World Bank approves fresh $2.2bn loan for Nigeria, says finance minister

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Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Mr Wale Edun

World Bank approves fresh $2.2bn loan for Nigeria, says finance minister

The federal government is set to secure a new $2.2 billion loan from the World Bank at single-digit interest rates, alongside another budgetary support facility from the African Development Bank (AfDB).

Wale Edun, the Minister of Finance, announced this during a press briefing after Nigeria participated in the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings in Washington, D.C.

Edun outlined various sources of international funding for Nigeria’s economy, including diaspora remittances, foreign portfolio investments, and support from international development partners like the World Bank.

He revealed that Nigeria had qualified for a $2.25 billion package from the World Bank, which he described as almost akin to a grant. The package had a moratorium period of 10 to 20 years and an interest rate of about one percent.

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Additionally, Edun mentioned low-interest funding from the AfDB and ongoing discussions with foreign direct investors across multiple sectors.

Edun also discussed plans to issue dollar-denominated securities targeted at Nigerians in the diaspora and those holding foreign-denominated savings in Nigeria. The government aims to attract foreign exchange inflows into the country by issuing these bonds later in the year.

Highlighting collaborative efforts between fiscal and monetary policies, Edun noted that issuing government securities at interest rates closer to the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Rate (MPR) addressed inflation and attracted foreign exchange inflows.

The minister outlined various initiatives under the Bola Tinubu administration to stimulate growth, including boosting the agricultural sector by distributing fertilizers and seeds to reduce food prices and enhance food security.

Other initiatives include increasing power generation to 6,000 megawatts within six months, improving infrastructure, particularly housing, to make low-interest mortgages available, revitalizing the social investment program, and proposing an economic stabilization plan.

World Bank approves fresh $2.2bn loan for Nigeria, says finance minister

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