by Seyi Lawal
The Minister of Information, Laraban Maku, through his official Twitter page has announced a town hall meeting today at 12pm on Twitter, clearly trying to speak to young Nigerians about the deeply unpopular #FuelSubsidyRemoval policy.
The announcement was made after the emergency meeting, today, of the Federal Executive Council (FEC), where Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala who is coordinating minister for the economy, and Diezani Alison-Madueke were absent. It is unclear if the directive for this meeting was given at that meeting.
Through the handle @FMINigeria, the minister announced that: “The Minister will tomorrow by 12pm on Twitter discuss the benefits of deregulating the downstream sector of the petroleum industry. The Minister will also discuss the steps being taken by the Federal Government to cushion the effects of the subsidy removal.”
Already, the announcement has drawn caustic mockery from some of the more popular young influencers on the social network.
@ToluOgunlesi said: “I have a feeling one day GEJ will wake up and sack every minister without at least one tweet-meet to his or her name.” @GbengaSesan chimed in: “Free comedy!”
This Tweet-meet follows the FEC’s announcement yesterday of the importation of 1600 buses into the country to cushion the effect of the subsidy removal – on Monday. It will be recalled that the Ministers of Youth and Aviation had previously held Tweet-meets.
Maku, a former Student Union leader and reputed for being gaffe-prone, is popular for a viral statement early in 2011 thanking President Goodluck Jonathan for “bringing Facebook to Nigeria.” His ministry has already been accused, through unconfirmed reports, of directing radio and TV stations on how to report the fuel subsidy protests.