David Oyedepo, the presiding Bishop of Living Faith Church Worldwide (aka Winners Chapel), has backed the call for the regulation of social media, saying addiction to it is ruining the destiny of young Nigerians.
Oyedepo said this at the seventh convocation of Landmark University, Omu-Aran, Kwara State, on Friday.
The bishop’s call comes at a time when the Federal Government has asked the National Assembly to empower the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to regulate all forms of internet broadcasting and social media.
According to the cleric, who is the Chancellor of the university, unlimited access to social media platforms is robbing youths of their future, lamenting that young persons stay online chatting for majority of the day instead of using their time to be productive.
He insisted that there needs to be a measure to check unrestricted access to social media.
He said: “It unconsciously robs people of their future by robbing them of their time — no time to think; no time to plan; no time to programme.
“This generation may lose her heroes to social media disaster. Here is one creeping serpent that is eating up the destinies of many individuals.
“We must wake up from our slumber to deal with this monster. Young people, beware! Addiction to social media is like addiction to drugs. It can render a whole destiny useless.
“This social media saga has eroded the substance of destiny of most youths today. What is supposed to be a plus has suddenly become a major minus because everything of value delivers through investment of time.
“Suddenly, we are faced with a generation on the wrong side of history; the honour of this generation has been wiped off — chatting all day with no time left to think, plan, programme and engage productively in the pursuit of any task.
“Many youths spend less than 10 to 20 per cent of their time on their tasks per day. They can never match a generation that spends 70 per cent to 80 per cent of their time on their tasks.
“We must devise means to put a check on free access to social media, particularly those that are not adding values. Life is a race. Everyone should get on the track, ready for the run of their lives.”
Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, had on Wednesday at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values on the bill to amend the NBC Act, urged the federal lawmakers to enact a law to give the NBC the power to regulate the online media in addition to other channels of broadcasting.
The call by the minister comes amid the suspension of Twitter by the Federal Government.
The Federal Government announced the suspension of Twitter on 4 June, two days after the microblogging site deleted a tweet of President Muhammadu Buhari after it was deemed to have “violated the Twitter rules”.
President Buhari had on 1 June after meeting with the leadership of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, following the attacks on the commission’s offices in the South-East region said his administration will treat those fomenting trouble in the country “in the language they understand”.
However, the president’s comment elicited varied responses, with many Nigerians saying on social media that he had just threatened to deal with innocent citizens over the actions of a negligent few.
Many Nigerians inundated the microblogging site with requests for the removal of the controversial tweet and a suspension of the president’s account.
Despite initially saying that President Buhari’s tweet did not violate its rules, Twitter reversed its stance later on Wednesday, deleting the tweet.
In a statement by Mohammed on 4 June, the ban placed on Twitter was due to the “persistent use” of the platform in purportedly encouraging activities that “undermines Nigeria’s corporate existence”.