Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday warned religious leaders of diverse faith to be careful with the use of social media in order to avoid promoting conflicts.
Naija News understands that the vice-president gave the advice during an interfaith religious dialogue on promoting religious tolerance and acceptance organized by the United Arab Emirate (UAE) Embassy in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.
He urged the crowd of his listeners to be mindful and ensure the policing of contents on the social media so as to ensure that they are not an instrument of war and conflict, adding that it was the responsibility of religious leaders to regulate contents posted on social media.
Osinbajo in his words said: “I want to say in particular that we absolutely need to be careful with our use of social media. If we do not want to promote the kind of conflict that can completely go out of hand, we must be sure that we are policing ourselves and regulating ourselves on social media.
“I don’t think that government regulation is necessarily the way to go. But I believe that persons of faith, as leaders and those of us who use social media actively, owe a responsibility to our society and to everyone else to ensure that we don’t allow it to become an instrument of conflict and war.
“Recently, I was sharing at a gathering about my aunty, an 81-year-old lady who thought I had resigned. Sometime before the elections, news went round that I had resigned my appointment as Vice-President; the news went round on social media, including WhatsApp.
“My aunt insisted that I had resigned because the news was on WhatsApp. I had to explain to her that I didn’t resign, even if the news was on WhatsApp.
“It was Rev. Sister Agatha who mentioned (in one of the panel discussions today) that if we are not careful, most people are not discerning enough to tell fact from fiction.
“Depending on what it is that you are spreading if you choose to spread the sort of news that can create real conflict and religious misinformation, which is the worst sort, it can create the kind of conflict that can completely get out of hand and jeopardize all of our lives, livelihood and property.
“It is important that we keep self-regulating and ensuring that we don’t lend our platforms to those who would promote conflict.”