Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed has blamed unpatriotic Nigerians for being the reason why social networking service, Twitter, decided to make Ghana its African headquarters.
Mohammed stated this in an interview with newsmen in Abuja on Thursday..
Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, had revealed on Monday that it had finally set up an office in Africa and it would be in Ghana.
There have been reactions from many Nigerians who feel Twitter’s African headquarters should be located in Nigeria considering the millions of Nigerians who use the social media service.
But reacting on Thursday, the minister, said, “The natural expectation would have been for Nigeria to be the hub for Twitter especially in this part of Africa, even with the fact that we have 25.4 million Twitter users in Nigeria, against eight million users in Accra. So, clearly the decision was not a commercial and business one.
“But I think Twitter has the prerogative and the exclusive right as to where to site its headquarters. But I hope that this will serve as a lesson to Nigerians.”
Continuing, Mohammed blamed Nigerians for projecting the image of the country negatively on social media platforms including Twitter, especially during the #EndSARS protests last October. The nationwide protest started on Twitter before physical mobilisation on the streets.
The minister added, “The reasons cited by Twitter for citing the headquarters in Accra, Ghana is that Accra is a champion of democracy and there is rule of law in Accra, among other reasons.
“This is what you get when you de-market your own country. This will teach a lot of us a lesson that we have no country than Nigeria.”
“We are not saying that you should not criticise the country but be fair and patriotic. When you destroy your own house, where are you going to live?
“You can imagine the kind of job opportunities that siting that headquarters in Nigeria would have created, the kind of visibility it would have given Nigeria but we destroyed it. It is what the insiders say about their country that the outsider will use to judge and condemn the country,” he stressed.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the regime of the Nigerian President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has in recent time sought stiffer penalties for persons who “misuse social media”.
The Senate is currently deliberating on Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulations Bill 2019 commonly known as the Anti-social media bill.
It seeks to criminalise the use of the social media in peddling false or malicious information. It was sponsored by Senator Mohammed Musa, a member of the President’s party, the All Progressives Congress.
Another member of the President’s party, Adamu Garba, had last year sued Twitter for supporting the #EndSARS protests but he later withdrew the case.
The development caused a debate on social media with many blaming it on Buhari.
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