This Day (Lagos)

26 September 2012

Nigeria: Cynthia's Murder - No Need to Ban Social Media, Internet, Says Minister

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Following growing calls for the restriction and ban of social media resulting from the gruesome murder of Cynthia Osokogu in Lagos by suspected internet users, the Federal Government Tuesday said the death of the lady does not warrant ban or restriction on the use of social media and internet.

Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, declared that banning or restricting internet and social media is not the answer to various internet crimes.

Speaking at the 2012 Nigerian Internet Governance Forum in Abuja, the minister maintained that such internet services have greater positive roles to play in the development of Nigeria.

She, however, harped on the need to strengthen the sense of responsibility of internet users in the country.

She said: "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."

"Yet we should also remember that the successful and continual protection of our society requires that we have a holistic definition of governance. Governance should not therefore necessarily be equated to bans and restrictions.

"However, experiences now indicate the need for strengthening the sense of responsibility among users of the internet and bringing more traditional, 'off-line' tools of governance in line with our new digital 'on-line' reality," she added

The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Eugene Juwah, who was represented at the occasion by Director of New Media, Dr. Sylvanus Ehikioya, said that enforcement can only be made after the present bill before the National Assembly is passed into law.

He said: "The security bill which has been developed in Nigeria since 2011 which we hope will be given to the House for passage soon. When we have appropriate cyber security law in the country, enforcement of infractions or breaches of those laws can now take place.

"Currently, you cannot enforce any cyber security violation because the enabling law is not there. But when we have this, NCC can then enforce appropriate use of the internet, and sanction violators," he stated.

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