Nigerian actor turned politician Desmond Elliot has come under fire after a video resurfaced on Thursday in which he condemned the use of social media by influencers, celebrities and the youth.
Earlier this week, Elliot was accused of pushing for a bill to censor social media speech and also reportedly blamed the shooting of peaceful protestors at Lekki toll gate on social media influencers and celebrities.
He denied the allegations in a video posted to Instagram. “This is false. No state House of Assembly has the jurisdiction to even deliberate to pass any bill, It’s not possible. The only thing I said was that celebrities, influencers and motivational speakers should cut down on the hate narrative. Everyone is going through so much right now,” he said.
The video of his exact speech has now gone viral on social media and in the clip, Elliot called on the speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly to “address certain things” like “the Nigerian youth, the social media, the social influencers”.
“The Nigerian youth, social media, social influencers, all of these are making the narratives that we are seeing today. Social media, though good, has its negative impacts.”
The lawmaker added: “When I went through the comments, I could not believe it, Mr. Speaker. The curses, the abuses from children. And I ask myself ‘Is this Nigeria? What is going on?’ Children cursing?”
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Elliot lamented that “culture is gone” and warned the House that “in the next five years, Nigeria is gone if we don’t start now.”
He then called on celebrities, influencers and motivational speakers to use their platforms to “stop the hatred” as they have the means to change governments.
His passionate speech has drawn criticism from several Nigerians, including celebrities.
Superstar musician Davido took to Twitter on Thursday, saying “Desmond Elliot just destroyed all the precious childhood memories he gave us in movies …”
And in a subtle but pointed dig, actress Uche Jumbo wrote: “the same social media they “USED” to package themselves into power. APC was packaged here…on twitter with ‘change’”
Social media influencer, Dr Olufunmilayo said: “People died. But Desmond is more angry about online “curses” against their killers.”
Elliot has since apologized for his comments.“I sincerely apologize for addressing the youth as ‘Children’ I did not mean to be insensitive with this, it was borne out of the magnitude of destruction & looting of businesses I witnessed when I went on a tour of my constituency,” he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.
“I allowed my emotions get the better of me and for this I apologize to everyone my earlier statements may have hurt,” he said.