The Bishop of Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah has cautioned the Federal Government against planned regulation of social media saying it could hinder freedom of speech.
Kukah disclosed this on Friday while speaking at the convocation lecture of Achievers University, Owo in Ondo State.
The lecture was titled: “Some reasons why Nigeria has failed to achieve greatness”.
The bishop who said that the freedom to speak must be done responsibly asked the government to be careful about the planned regulation of the social media.
He added that social media was an avenue for Nigerians to bear their minds and feelings about happenings in the country.
According to him, most of the people at the corridor of power today are not aware of the struggle made for the country’s nascent democracy.
Kukah said that he was ready to defend freedom of speech in Nigeria with the last drop of his blood.
“I’m worried that many in power don’t know the sacrifice we made. The freedom we fought for,” he said.
He noted that a nation thrives on the free flow of ideas and information among its citizenry. Kukah said that ethnicity and religion had become liabilities in the Nigerian context.
“We are over 90 per cent Christians and Muslims in Nigeria but there is nowhere in the world where religion has become an incubus, a burden and source of dreadful violence as it has in Nigeria.
“Our leaders are kneeling before Pastors and Imams seeking blessings while the rest of the world is moving on, drawing inspiration from sweat, brains and brawn even without evoking God.
“We evoke God to witness to our corruption and outright larceny,” he said. Kukah said that the country was performing below expectations, saying that everybody could attest to this.
He explained that what held Nigeria together were resources which he said were being used irresponsibly by those who were running the country.
“The main challenge is not of the boundaries of geography but the spread of ideas and knowledge and of course memory is a source of knowledge. “We are angry but we are not the first group to be angry,” he said.
He urged Nigerian leaders to invoke common emotions that could hold the citizens together as one.
Kukah encouraged the graduands of the university not to be locked in the abyss of ethnicity and religion but to liberate themselves, urging them not to cut corners because the road to success was long and hard.
Commending, Dr Bode Ayorinde, the founder and pro-chancellor of the university, thanked Kukah for the lecture and described him as a national hero who should be celebrated.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed has recently announced the government’s plans to regulate the social media to combat falsehood.
Some of the dignitaries at the event were Sen. Bode Olajumoke, the Chancellor of the University, Prof. Tunji Ibiyemi, the Vice-Chancellor and Oba Ajibade Ogunoye, the Olowo of Owo.
NAN reports that four Nigerians- Kukah, Gov. Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Mr Yakubu Dogara, former speaker of House Representatives and Mrs Sola Momoh, were slated for recognition by the university on Saturday as part of the convocation ceremony.