The Serving Overseer, Citadel Global Community Church (CGCC), Pastor Tunde Bakare, has warned against the danger inherent in imposing strict regulation of social media in Nigeria, saying that any political group that takes the social media savvy Nigerian youths for granted does so at its own risk or peril.
In a state of the nation address themed: “The Youths of A Nation Are the Trustees of Posterity” delivered yesterday, the cleric urged the Federal Government to tread carefully over the move to regulate the social media.
Bakare, who spoke on the heels of attempt by the government to regulate the use of social media in the aftermath of #EndSARS protests, said the fact that some persons had deployed the social media tool in ways that had been less than honourable does not justify the attempted clampdown on freedom of speech by some legislators who, he said, ‘major in minors.’
The Convener, Save Nigeria Group (SNG), also flayed Federal Government’s decision to freeze accounts of young Nigerians who reportedly sponsored the protests, targeting and arresting citizens on trumped-up charges, deploying court probes as a tool of intimidation and others.
According to him: “These steps are deeply worrisome signs of regression and they have to be immediately reversed to calm frayed nerves and fast-track peace in the country.
“To extend the olive branch to the youths in one breath, and to deprive the youths of the right to freedom of movement and property in another breath, will send confusing signals to them and cast doubts in their minds regarding the sincerity of the government.
“The immediate reversal of these actions, therefore, will calm frayed nerves and fast track peace in our land.”
Bakare said the Nigerian youths with the power of social media remained the ninth power bloc that must not be taken for granted, advising strongly the power blocs in the country, including the South-West governors, who were calling for stricter regulation of social media, to desist from doing so.
“I, therefore, state without equivocation that these young Nigerians who have found their voices on social media are not the enemies of Nigeria. They are the hope of our nation. They are simply expressing the character of our DNA and the virtues that gave us independence,” he added.