The Federal government has accused the Government of Canada of a double standard in the way protesters deemed to be violent are perceived in Nigeria and in the West.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alh. Lai Mohammed made the accusation on Sunday while reacting to the unfolding development in Canada, where the Canadian protesters, who have blockaded roads and resorted to inconveniencing others, have been branded as terrorists and subjected to a number of clampdowns by government and private organizations.
Recall that truckers have been protesting in Canada in the past few days over Covid-19 vaccine mandates and other Covid-19 restrictions and have been branded as insurrectionists or terrorists and subjected to a number of clampdowns by the government and private organizations for blockading roads and resorting to inconveniencing others.
In the same manner, the crowdfunding company GoFundMe has shut down the campaign to raise funds for the truckers, after they raised over US$10m, just as Twitter suspended the truckers’ account.
In the same vein, the Ontario government had frozen access to millions of dollars donated through online fundraising platform GiveSendGo to the protesters, even as the Mayor of Ottawa, Canada’s capital city, Jim Watson also declared a state of emergency in the city in response, saying the protests posed a threat to residents’ safety.
Reacting to the development, the Minister, accused the Canadian government and Twitter of a double standard, recalling that during the EndSars protest, which culminated in the blockage 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, while Twitter on its part actively supported the EndSars protesters and even helped them to raise fund.
“Recall that during the EndSars protest, which culminated in the blockage 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 funds 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.
“This is similar to what played out during the January 6th 2021 insurrection at the US Capitol In Washington, D.C. where those involved are either still being investigated or have been charged to court. I don’t blame them. Nobody wants their country destroyed under the guise of protests.
“We are not gloating over the unfortunate development in Canada. But we are only calling attention to the double standard involved in the way protesters deemed to be violent are perceived in Nigeria and in the West.
“Those who referred to the hoodlums who destroyed public and private property in Nigeria under the guise of EndSars as peaceful protesters have tagged similar protesters in their own countries as insurrectionists and terrorists. This glaring double standard should not be lost on all Nigerians.
“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, the Minister said.
“This realization explains why every country goes the extra mile to protect and preserve itself. And this also explains why we have continued to insist on the regulation of social media to ensure responsible content. In this area, I can confidently say we are far ahead of most countries in the world, who have now realized that social media must be regulated in the interest of their own people.
“In this regard, our successful negotiation with Twitter to fashion out measures to ensure responsible use of that platform We all must put Nigeria first at all times. which, by the way, will also apply to other social media platforms, has made us a global trailblazer in efforts to prevent harmful content from social media platforms
” We must not allow anyone to destroy our country under the guise of protest or unbridled freedoms,” he added