Fake News Fueling Insecurity ​― Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that fake news and misinformation have exacerbated insecurity and created apprehension among citizens.

The Minister said this on Tuesday at the Citizens Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.

He said terrorists and bandits are not spirits, but human beings who reside in communities. He added that they must all be exposed and crushed for peace to reign.

He said, “this crisis of insecurity has, unfortunately, been exacerbated by the twin evil of fake news and misinformation. I will come to that shortly”.

While citing instances of some fake news which created panic among the populace, Mohammed said “on August 10th, the Kaduna State Government had to debunk an online report claiming that hundreds of bandits had laid a siege on the Kaduna-Zaria road.

“Also, in April 2022, a drone video went viral showing a group of five men wearing red clothes and cooking inside an unknown forest. Those circulating the video claimed that it was somewhere in Nigeria.

“But when BBC did a fact-check on the drone video, it discovered that it was not in Nigeria. The video was circulated just to create panic among the citizens and put society on edge.

“In June 2022, there were reports of bandits using a helicopter to attack residents in four communities in Kajuru Local Government Area of Kaduna.

“The Kaduna state government had to debunk the story by clarifying that the chopper was actually an Air Force helicopter dispatched to repel an attack in the area. Again, imagine the panic that would have been triggered by this fake news”.

He said the government swung into action in 2017 to tackle the challenge of fake news and misinformation, he noted that this year, the government devoted the entire National Council on Information to this issue.

“We then followed up by launching a National Campaign Against Fake News and Misinformation, after which we embarked on a nationwide advocacy campaign to media establishments.

“We have also reached out to the various social media platforms like Facebook and Google in order to work with them to curtail the spread of fake news and misinformation.

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