Thursday, January 25, 2018

FG orders security agencies to monitor social media posts of ‘prominent Nigerians'


The Federal Government has directed security agencies to tackle the propagation of hate speech, especially through social media.

The order was given at a security meeting presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari at the presidential villa in Abuja.

Mansur Dan Ali, minister of defence, had described the trend of hate speech on social media as worrisome.

“Relevant security agencies should as a matter of urgency tackle the propagation of hate speeches through the social media, particularly by some notable Nigerians,” Ali said.

The development comes one year after Lai Mohammed, minister of information, vowed that the current administration would not regulate social media.

“We have said it before and we want to re-state it: the federal government has no immediate or long-term plan to stifle press freedom. Even the social media, with its warts and all, will neither be regulated nor have its operations tampered with,” he had said in January 2017.

Meanwhile, Dan Ali told state house correspondents that top on the agenda of the three hours meeting with Buhari was the stringent conditions imposed by the United States government for the sale of 12 Super Tucano A29 planes and other weapons to Nigeria at the rate of $495 million.

He said US has insisted that payment must be made by February 20, 2018, and that the aircraft can only be available in 2020.

Dan Ali also said that the US government had asked Nigeria not to send its personnel to understudy the production process of the aircraft as Nigeria did done in the case of other countries.

“The contract include cost which is $494 million to acquire the Super Tucano A29 plans as well as training, where the facilities will be accommodated and continuous servicing among others,” he said.

“Some of the stringent measures include that we will start having them from 2020, which is two years from now. They are also thinking of not allowing our technicians to be part of the production inspection. But this is what we normally do in all the defence contracts, we send our personnel to go and understudy especially when it comes to specialized aircrafts like in Russia, our personnel are permanently based in where the production is being done for this MI35 helicopters.”

The minister said the council has approved that the officials of his ministry meet with the US ambassador to Nigeria, Stuart Symington, to iron out the contending issues.

In December, the government of Donald Trump agreed to sell the aircraft after the Obama administration halted it, citing poor human right record of the military.

The Cable

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