The President Muhammadu Buhari regime says there is no going back on the proposed bill to regulate social media in its bid to deal with what it refers to as hate speech and fake news, claiming if unregulated it will result in a "national conflagration".

This was disclosed by Lai Mohammad, the Minister of Information, during an interactive session with the Guild of Corporate Online Publishers in Abuja.

He said, "Let me say, straight on, that the intense debate that has been generated by our announcement is a welcome development.

"The fear of stifling free speech or muzzling the media is totally unfounded. We have no such plan. As we speak, people are on social media criticizing the administration. We have no problem with that."

Nigerians have accused the government of plotting to muzzle free speech.

However, Mohammed said the uproar would not stop the bill from being passed into law.

He stated, "But our concern has to do with the abuse of the social media by those who are bent on spreading fake news and hate speech, and the dangers inherent in that for our national peace and unity.

"No responsible government will sit by and allow fake news and hate speech to dominate its media space because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger a national conflagration."

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