By Rotimi Ijikanmi
Oro (Ilorin), Feb. 13, 2022 (NAN) The Federal Government has accused the Canadian government and Twitter of double standard in the way they classify violent protesters in Nigeria and in Western clime.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the accusation at a media briefing on Sunday in his hometown, Oro, in Kwara state.
The minister was reacting to the unfolding events in Canada, where truckers were protesting over COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other COVID-19 restrictions.
Mohammed said Canada and Twitter which had called the hoodlums who destroyed public and private property in Nigeria during the EndSARS as “peaceful protesters” turned around to tag similar protesters in their own countries as insurrectionists and terrorists.
“The Canadian protesters, who have blockaded roads and resorted to inconveniencing others, have been branded as terrorists or insurrectionists and subjected to a number of clampdown by government and private organisations.
“The crowdfunding company GoFundMe has shut down the campaign to raise funds for the truckers, after they raised more than 10 million U.S. dollars.
“Twitter has suspended the truckers’ account while the Ontario government has frozen access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the protesters.
“”Jim Watson, the Mayor of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, has also declared a state of emergency in the city in response, saying the protests posed a threat to residents’ safety.
“Recall, gentlemen, that during the #EndSars protest, which culminated in the blockade of public roads and massive destruction of government and private property, Canada was one of the countries that spoke out in support of the protesters.
“Recall also that Twitter actively supported the #EndSars protesters and even helped them to raise fund while GoFundMe was used to raise funds for the protests.
“These are the same entities that are now rushing to distance themselves from the protesters in Canada and even denying them the use of their platforms,” he said.
The minister recalled that similar scenario played out during the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. where those involved were either still being investigated or had been charged to court.
Mohammed, therefore, called on Nigerians to be circumspect of the glaring double standard and should be ready at all time to protect their country from destruction.
He said Nigerians must put their country first at all times and should not allow anyone to destroy their country under the guise of protest or unbridled freedoms.
“This realisation explains why every country goes the extra mile to protect and preserve itself.
“We have always said that you must have a country before you can even enjoy the freedoms guaranteed by your country’s constitution.
“If there is no Nigeria, no one will be talking of freedom of expression or freedom of association and the likes,” he said.
The minister noted that the Federal Government’s position should not be misunderstood to be gloating over the unfortunate development in Canada.
He said they were only calling attention to the double standard involved in the way protesters deemed to be violent were being perceived in Nigeria and in the West.
The minister reiterated the position that the government never regretted the action it took against Twitter and the outcome of the subsequent negotiation with the micro blogging site.
“In this area, I can confidently say we are far ahead of most countries in the world, who have now realised that social media must be regulated in the interest of their own people”.
Mohammed said the successful negotiation with Twitter on measures to ensure a responsible use of the platform had placed Nigeria as a global trail blazer in efforts to prevent harmful content from social media platforms.
He reassured that the conditions and measures agreed upon for lifting the ban on Twitter would also be applied to other social media platforms operating in the country. (NAN)