The Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Academic, Research, Innovation and Strategic Partnerships (ARISP), Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), Professor Damilola S. Olawuyi, SAN, has expressed worries over the ban of social media site Twitter in Nigeria.
The don emphasized the importance of keeping all channels of engagement and information with the citizenry open for government to effectively tackle competitive misinformation and the spread of fake news.
Olawuyi, who is also co-chairman of the Legal Education Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), stated this while delivering the opening remarks at the Green Institute’s World Environment Day conference.
In his remarks, Olawuyi noted that, “One of the most potent threats to peace and sustainable development in a country is the lack of easily accessible information on government’s activities and programmes. In a quest to actively engage with citizens, government leaders across the world, including Nigeria, have successfully deployed the use of online social networks such as Twitter to provide authentic and readily available information that counter fake news. Countries like Canada and the United States even have social media ‘war rooms’ backed with significant budgets, where social media experts actively counter the diffusion of competitive misinformation and fake news about government programmes. So, banning Twitter is like inflicting self-harm at a time of great global uncertainty.”
While discussing the economic and national security implications of the Twitter ban, Olawuyi noted that “when government agencies with first-hand information are no longer available on social media, expect a bumper harvest and spread of spurious and unverified information by unscrupulous elements at home and abroad.”