Those who led nationwide protests demanding extensive police reforms with the #EndSARS hashtag must be prosecuted, says Festus Keyamo.
Mr Keyamo, a junior labour and employment minister stated this today while speaking with Peoples Gazette on the recent blockade of the U.S capitol.
Supporters of outgoing president Donald Trump had on Wednesday invaded the parliament in a bid to halt the confirmation of Joe Biden as the next leader of the foreign country.
While the invaders where arrested by the police, Mr Trump’s social media accounts were deactivated after he sent out messages suggesting he supports their actions.
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter said they prohibited Mr Trump from further using their platforms over the latter’s choice of words which are inciting.
For the junior minister, the development has reignited the resolution of President Muhammadu Buhari administration to control free speech in the country.
He also said the administration will not back down on prosecuting arrow heads of the now suspended protest which abruptly ended after military personnel swooped on peaceful demonstrators and opened live rounds on them at the Lekki tollgate, Lagos on October 20.
The protests which began peacefully in some cities turned violent after alleged state sponsored hoodlums were let loose against the peaceful assembly. The government saw the protest as a move aimed at ousting it from power.
“What happened that triggered #EndSARS and cost the nation billions in destruction and human lives was based on a pure lie,” Keyamo told the online news medium but failed to point out the lie.
“In America, those who attacked the Capitol and the person who incited them are being punished. But here in Nigeria, we are calling for those who incited #EndSARS protesters into killing and maiming so many people to be freed. It won’t happen,” he added.
While warning purveyors of hate speech in the country to desist further, the minister said what was meted out to the U.S president serves him right.
“There is always a thin line between free speech and irresponsible and dangerous hate speech. Donald Trump was restricted because he lied and fermented hate speech,” he reckoned.
“Don’t make unfounded claims in Nigeria. If you do, be prepared to defend yourself and be ready to face the consequences,” he added.