The Nigerian Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has asked Google to block terrorist organisations from using YouTube.
Lai Mohammed made the appeal when a team from Google visited him in Abuja on Thursday, August 4, adding that some of the channels use local languages during their broadcast to escape being censored.
The Minister listed Biafra Digest TV, Umu Biafra TV, Biafra Digest, Asa Biafra TV as examples of channels that spread subversive information/ contents.
He said ”We want Google to look into how to tackle the use of private and unlisted YouTube channels and YouTube live streams by proscribed groups and terrorist organisations. Channels and emails containing names of proscribed groups and their affiliates should not be allowed on Google platforms..
“Your platform is a platform of choice for IPOB, a proscribed terrorist group.
“We implore you not to make your platform available to them for their acts of violence and destabilisation.
“We hope you will cooperate with us as well as our security agencies in this direction.”
Lai Mohammed added that the government recently proposed a “Code of Practice for Interactive Computer Service Platforms/ Internet Intermediaries”.
According to him, the code serves as a framework for collaboratively protecting Nigerian users of Internet platforms.
“This code couldn’t have come at a better time, as the country prepares for general elections next year. We are committed to working with platforms like yours as well as the civil society, lawyers, media practitioners and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a responsible use of the Internet and to protect our people from the harmful effects of social media.”
Google’s Regional Dir.,Sub-Saharan Africa,Govt. Affairs and Public Policy, Charles Murito in his remarks said the platform has introduced a programme called “Trusted Flaggers” for citizens trained to track and engage with online contents in order to flag contents of serious concern
He said; “As I mentioned earlier, we share the same sentiments, we share the same goals and objectives and we do not want our platform to be used for ill purposes.”
On his part, Google Government Affairs and Public Policy Manager, Mr. Adewolu Adene, said “Equiano”, a subsea cable which recently berthed in Nigeria from Portugal, is aimed at enhancing connectivity and access to the internet as well as to drive down the cost of data,in order to create jobs and facilitate the transfer of knowledge.
He added that through the Google News Initiative Challenge, 30 media platforms, with 5 from Nigeria, including the Dubawa fact-checking platform, would be awarded a $3.2 million grant in recognition of their innovative work in information dissemination.
Adene also reiterated the readiness of Google to work with the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to digitize the recently-repatriated artifacts in order to preserve and market them to a global audience through Google Arts and Culture.
Recall that Nigeria also suspended Twitter in June 2021 and blocked access to users after the social media giant removed a post from President Muhammadu Buhari threatening to punish regional secessionists.
The government lifted the Twitter ban six months later.