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President Muhammadu Buhari.

The federal government says works are in the pipe to regulate the activities streaming and content providers such as Netflix, IrokoTV, Amazon prime video, HBO and others.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, made this known on Wednesday at a two-day conference of government and stakeholders in the entertainment industry.

The conference was aimed at looking at the implications of “the implication of Nigeria censorship laws and regulatory framework for Over-The-Top (OTT) streaming services and content providers in Nigeria.”

Mohammed, who’s known for his controversial position of pushing for government clampdown on social media and other independent media outlets, doubled down on his stance, saying streaming platform could be use to forment trouble, “cause chaos” and weaken Nigeria’s democratic processes.

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Represented by Comfort Ajiboye, Director, Information and Technology in the ministry, Mohammed said the popularity and demand of streaming services, especially Netflix in Nigeria increased with the COVID-19 pandemic, “hence its regulation.”

The conference was organised by the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) on Wednesday in Lagos, along with practitioners and stakeholders in the entertainment and creative industry.

The conference was to deliberate on how policies could be created to monitor content providers and streaming platforms such as Netflix in Nigeria, Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director and CEO of the NFVCB, said in his opening remark.

“With over 50 per cent internet penetration, it has become imperative to convene this conference to bring together stakeholders and legislators in a conversation so as to come up with crystal policies on the regulation of streamers and content providers,” Mr Thomas said.

Thomas said streaming service providers, like Netflix, were unable to self-regulate, reason why their operations were now being discussed at the conference with the theme, “Nigeria Digital Content Regulation”.

The NFVCB boss, however, promised that regulatory motive was not to frustrate creativity and stifle innovation but to “create sanity and encourage healthy competition for socio-economic gains.”