Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has confirmed he is in the United States but debunked rumours that his presence in America is to negotiate with Twitter.
The Minister in his refutal, also used the opportunity to hit another point on the dangers of fake news.
Contrary to reports in some sections of the media, Mohammed explained that his visit to America has nothing to do with the activities of the micro-blogging site, Twitter in Nigeria.
Warning further on the dangers of an unregulated social media space, the Minister questioned the possibility of a personality like him sneaking out of Nigeria into the US.
“Can a minister sneak out of Nigeria without people knowing?
“When you say I sneaked out of Nigeria, are you saying I went to board at a terminal where nobody is or I travel to the Republic of Benin to fly out of the country? he asked.
“I was at an international airport, where I presented myself openly and I was checked in at the counter like every other traveller of the airline.
“I boarded and passed through the checks by the Immigration Service and Customs.
“How can you come and say I sneaked out of the country?’’ he added.
After debunking the rumour, Mohammed explained that his mission in America has to do with promoting the activities of the government of President Muhammadu Buhari and seeking international collaborations on how to further tackle insecurity caused by the activities of bandits, terrorists and other criminals back home.
According to him, he has so had meaningful discussions with the BBC Radio and TV, Bloomberg and Polico during his visit to Washington DC, but his alleged negotiation with Twitter executives is nothing but fake news which should be ignored.
“You and I have been here, have I met with any Twitter official?
“When you talk about fake news and its danger, we need to take it seriously and I am happy that the entire world has now seen what we saw more than two years ago.
“I can assure you that we will not rest until we regulate the social media, otherwise, nobody will survive it,’’ he said to NAN.
The minister however reiterated that negotiations between Twitter and the federal government were at an advanced stage and very soon, the platform should be operational in Nigeria again.
He emphasized that Twitter operations in Nigeria were suspended after it became clear that the platform was been used in a way capable of undermining the country’s existence and sovereignty, not because it deleted a tweet by President Buhari.