The Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said he does not believe it should be a big deal if the presidency monitors social media accounts of citizens as a measure to contain the rising spate of hate speech in the country.
Shehu stated this during an appearance on Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’ which was anchored by Seun Okinbaloye.
According to the Presidential aide, it was not out of place if President Muhammadu Buhari mandated the military to monitor the social media as long as it was part of their “national security duties”.
While defending Buhari for his concern about the use of the social media for promoting extremism, Shehu said: “I know that this country, in fact, the whole world has a big problem with balancing free speech and what we call in this country hate speech.
“It has many faces depending on which country you are dealing with. In most of these European countries, (and) America, they are dealing with Islamic terror. In America, white extremism and all of that… All of it fed substantially by the Internet.
“I believe that people can justified that. A lot of countries are taking notes. If Nigeria does it, I don’t know. I’m in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But if it happens in this country, it is not extraordinary, it is not unusual. Everybody is interested. Look, this thing about international terrorism is big and nobody is leaving it to chances.”
When asked if the government was monitoring the calls of Nigerians; Shehu responded: “I am not aware of that.”
Although Shehu is “not aware” of the monitoring of calls, he is quick to maintain that the Internet now feeds extremism.