The Federal Government yesterday confirmed that Twitter has formally written to seek for dialogue on issues leading to the indefinite suspension of its operations in the country.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, confirmed this when he featured on “Politics Nationwide,’’ a Radio Nigeria call-in programme in Abuja.
“I can confirm that Twitter has written the Federal Government that they are ready to talk.
“As we have always maintained, the door is not locked and we are open minded but Twitter must work toward it,” he said.
The minister reiterated the government’s position that it would not tolerate any platform that would be used to destabilise the country.
Mohammed said among other conditions for Twitter to resume operation in Nigeria, there must be an agreement as to what contents it could post.
He said Twitter and other platforms must also register as a Nigerian company, obtain license from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and be guided by the rules of the licensing as well as pay taxes.
According to the minister, regulation of social media platforms is becoming a global practice.
He said most countries were just waking up to the fact that the platforms were becoming more powerful than even government and needed to be regulated.
“Singapore, Algeria, Pakistan, Turkey regulate the social media, Australia has done so.
“ Even EU that does not have particular laws on social media has made recommendations in a white paper,” he said.
The minister said that the UK initiated a new law which would make social media companies to be fined up to 18 million pounds (about N10.8 billion) if they failed to stamp out online abuses.
He said Google was fined 220 million Euros (about N110 billion) on June 7 by French Competition Regulator for abusing its dominance in the online advertising market in France.
Similarly, the minister said the Federal Cabinet of Pakistan had approved a new set of rules to regulate social media.
In the rules, according to the minister, companies such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and even TikTok were to register and open offices in Pakistan.
He said in compliance with the new online broadcasting rule of Turkey, Netflix and Amazon Prime Video had obtained licences from that country’s broadcasting authority.
Mohammed noted that regulation of the social media was not synonymous with stifling press freedom.
“We must not confuse press freedom with irresponsibility.
“How can you stay in your country and allow your own platform to be used to propagate war in another country?
“The suspension of Twitter is to ensure that no particular platform is used to cause war in Nigeria.
“Secondly, to ensure that whoever is making money in Nigeria must be made to pay tax.
“Our appeal to Nigerians is that they should understand where we are coming from.
“We have no intention to stifle people’s freedom or to cut off the source of livelihood of anybody.
“There must be a country devoid of war before we can talk of freedom and a source of living,’’ he said.
The Federal Government had on June 4 suspended indefinitely the operations of the microblogging and social networking service in Nigeria.
Mohammed, who announced the suspension, cited the persistent use of the platform for activities capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He said the Federal Government had also directed the NBC to immediately commence the process of licensing all Over the Top (OTT) and social media operations in the country.
Telecom Firm Trains Journalists On Artificial Intelligence
Telecommunication company, 9mobile Plc, has said that the company had trained some journalists across media houses in Nigeria on Artificial Intelligence-powered journalism.
The training, which was the third edition of the telco’s capacity building initiative, designed to acquaint journalists with emerging trends in journalism, was by multimedia producer and social media strategist, Usifo Omozokpea, who is currently the Audience Development Manager (West Africa) at The Conversation Africa.
According to Omozokpea, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the simulation of human intelligence process or human activities through machines, especially computer systems.
He noted that there are specific applications of AI which includes expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision.
These tools, he said, enhance the job of media practitioners and can help them collaborate better.
According to him, there are various tools that have been designed to address specific media needs.
He urged participants to take advantage of the various AI tools at their disposal to improve their professional practice.
Speaking on the session, the Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, Abdulrahman Ado, represented by 9mobile’s Public Relations Lead, Chineze Amanfo, said that the knowledge shared during the training session had proven to be useful to all participants.
Ado noted that the knowledge gained by participants during the training will obviously aid them to work smarter and even create room for intelligent collaboration with their colleagues in a seamless and professional manner.
INEC Admits Improvement On Voter Registration Exercise
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that over one million Nigerians have been added to the nation’s voter register.
The number of fresh online pre-registrants was 3,165,189 while 1,457,766 have applied for voter transfer, replacement of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and update of information records.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement announcing the end of the first quarter of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
He said youths between the ages of 18 and 34 constituted the majority, with 771,770 (71.33 per cent) having completed registration.
In terms of occupation, students formed the largest category with 439,608 (40.63 per cent). In gender distribution, 555,872 (51.38 per cent) were male and 526,075 (48.62 per cent) female.
He said the second quarter of the exercise would begin October 4, 2021, and end December 20, 2021.
“As provided by Section 19 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission is mandated to publish the register of voters for a period of not less than five days and not more than 14 days for public scrutiny during which citizens may make claims and objections,
“In compliance with the law, the register of new voters will be displayed in the local government offices of the Commission nationwide from September 24 to 30, 2021.
“The aim is to enable citizens to assist the Commission by identifying ineligible registrants on the list ahead of the cleaning up of the register before adding the fresh registrants to the current register and printing their PVCs for future elections”, he said.
Okoye observed that ineligible registrants included foreigners and Nigerians below the age of 18. He also urged people to help the Commission identify multiple registrants and deceased persons so that they can be removed from the register.
Also, INEC placed a suspension on online pre-registration and in-person voter registrations across Lagos State.
It said the suspension was to give room for all registrants to check the appropriateness of information supplied. It said the stoppage would afford its officials the opportunity to embark on necessary housekeeping activities in preparation for the next quarter.
In a statement, yesterday, by its Head of Department, Voter Education/Publicity for Lagos, Femi Akinbiyi, INEC said online pre-registration and in-person registration exercise started on June 28, 2021, and July 26, 2021.
LG Boss Constitutes Voters Mobilisation, Registration Committee
Ahead the 2023 general elections, the Executive Chairman of Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, Hon Vincent Nemieboka, has constituted voters mobilisation/ registration committee across wards and communities in the area.
Hon Nemieboka urged the constituted committee members to liaise with councillors to achieve the desired objective.
He made the declaration during a stakeholders meeting on voters registration at Ogu,the council headquarters, recently.
The council boss reiterated that eligible voters utilise the opportunity as provided by the Independent Electoral Commission ( INEC ) to register for the 2023 elections.
He said that Ogu/ Bolo under his leadership would not hesitate to provide the logistics and enabling environment for the exercise.
“The essence of the exercise can never be over emphasised. The electorate can decide the future of Rivers cum Nigeria with their vote,” he said.
He further urged the Councillors,traditional rulers, Community Development Committees and youth bodies to assist in carrying out the awareness and stressed the need for eligible voters to participate in the on going exercise.
The council boss urged the electoral umpire to improve on its services to avoid disefranchising eligible voters in the area.
Describing Governor Wike’s performance in infrastructural and human capital development as unprecedented, he called for improved network in order to enhance the process.
He was of the view that the only way to reciprocate the Governor’ s kind gesture was to show more support and ensure that eligible voters do the needful.
In his remarks, the Assistant Electoral Officer in charge of voters enlightenment , Mr Austin Jonas thanked the Chairman for organising such event and said that it was a welcome development.
Austin said the electoral body would work in synergy with council authorities to ensure the exercise was hitch free.
In their Separate speeches,the leader of Ogu/Bolo Legislative Assembly, Rt Hon Thompson Ogwunna, said that the councillors would give the Chairman necessary support to succeed in his determination to deliver democratic dividends to the people.
Thompson, who represent, Ward 11, described the chairman as God-sent , as he urged eligible voters on the need to avail themselves of the opportunity.
The Deputy Leader, Hon Tamuno Dikibala Ofori, in his contribution, said that the councillors were working in synergy with the executive to achieve the aim of the exercise.
Hon Tamuno, who represents Ward Five in the Ogu/Bolo Legislative Assembly, also urged his people to register for the elections.
By: King Onunwor
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