Nigerian government rejects calls to ban social media

The federal government of Nigeria has rejected calls asking it to ban the use of social media in the wake of the gruesome murder of a young woman in Lagos by friends she met on Facebook.

The decision was revealed by the nation’s minister for communication technology, Omobola Johnson, while speaking at the annual Nigerian Internet Governance Forum in Abuja.

According to the minister, the government has received numerous calls from concerned Nigerians asking it to ban the use of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Myspace in order to protect individuals such as the murdered Cynthia Osokogu from criminals.

Although she commiserated with the family of the deceased and others like her, she however stated that Cynthia’s death was not a reason for the government to ban, restrict access to or place any form of restriction on the use of social media and internet in Nigeria.

Johnson said that “putting a ban on internet or social media cannot prevent the various internet crimes that are perpetrated since the internet crime perpetrators will seek other ways of bypassing the ban.”

She revealed that in spite of sad stories such as the death of Osokogu, social media is still playing a positive role in Nigeria’s development. She however called for social media responsibility and control among users, especially when it comes to those that are more vulnerable such as young women and children.

Cynthia Osokogu is the latest Nigerian victim of crimes originating from social media. She travelled to Lagos to meet a friend she met on Facebook but was robbed, gang raped and murdered. Several suspects have been arrested.

“Indeed we mourn and commiserate with the family and friends of Cynthia Osokogu and all those that have suffered in the hands of people that use the internet, much as they use any other medium or tool, for criminal activities,” said the minister

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