The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Wednesday, dismissed as fake, report that he sneaked out of Nigeria to meet with executives of the micro-blogging platform, Twitter, in the United States.
An online platform had claimed early in the week that the minister left the country a few days ago to attend a meeting with Twitter management in the US.
The Federal Government suspended Twitter operations in Nigeria on June 4.
But in a chat with journalists in Washington, the minister said his official visit to the US has nothing to do with Twitter.
Mohammed said he was in the US to meet with international media organisations and think tanks on the achievements of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration and efforts made so far by the federal government to tackle insurgency, banditry and other forms of criminality.
He said the report was an example of the danger fake news and unregulated social media portend for the country.
The minister said: “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 Republic of Benin to fly out of the country?
“I was at the international airport, where I presented myself openly and I was checked in at the counter like every other traveler of the airline.
“I boarded and passed through the checks by the Nigerian Immigration Service and Nigeria Customs Service.
“How can you come and say I sneaked out of the country?.”
Mohammed, who had so far engaged with the British Broadcasting Service (BBC) Radio and TV as well as Bloomberg during his visit to Washington DC, said he had no mission with Twitter on his trip.
He added: “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 is 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.”
The minister insisted that the federal government did not suspend Twitter because it deleted President Buhari’s as being reported in some sections of the media.
The platform, according to him, was suspended because of its persistent use for activities that were capable of undermining Nigeria’s corporate existence.
He also stressed the need for the organisation to register as a business entity and obtain licence from the National Broadcasting Commission to carry out its activities.
Mohammed said the engagement between Twitter and the federal government on how to resolve the dispute had reached an advanced stage.
“The end for the amicable settlement of the matter is in sight,” he concluded.
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