The Federal Government has debunked reports that it plans to monitor the calls and social media activities of Nigerians.
Isa Pantami, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, made the rebuttal in a statement issued by Uwa Suleiman, his spokesperson, on Saturday/
The purported report, which was said to have emanated from a message authored by the minister, claimed that all mobile telephone devices in the country had been connected to the system of the Communications Ministry to enable the monitoring of subscribers’ activities.
But Pantami described the report as fake news, labelling it as a “malicious message”.
The minister explained that he initially ignored the message, which has been in the public domain for some time, so as not to give undue attention to its originators.
But he stated that the message’s huge spread, coupled with attempts by well-meaning members of the public to get clarity and the need to ensure that all Nigerians were properly informed, has necessitated him to intervene.
“The attention of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, has been drawn to a misleading message purportedly authored by him, currently trending on social media.
“The fake news is circulating a message which implies that all devices are now connected to the ministry’s systems and that effective tomorrow, it will commence the recording of phone calls and the monitoring of all social media platforms and fora.
“The malicious message also further discourages citizens from sharing any messages or videos with political or religious content as it is now officially a crime and could even lead to arrest,” the statement read.
Pantami added that the reports were part of ‘divisive messages’ that sought to distract the ministry from its focus on digitalising the Nigerian economy.