- Fake news and misinformation have been listed as the key contributors to the growing insecurity across Nigeria
- This was disclosed by the minister of information, culture and tourism, Lai Mohammed on Tuesday, August 23
- According to the minister, it is satisfactory that many CSOs have joined the campaign against fake news and misinformation
The minister of Information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has said insecurity in some parts of the country is being exacerbated by fake news and misinformation.
Mohammed made the observation in Abuja on Monday when he represented President Muhammadu Buhari at the Citizens Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security, organized by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR).
He said the summit could not have come at a better time, with the issues of peace, security and national unity on the front burner of Nigeria's national discourse.
The minister added that in recent times, the issues of peace and security have been on the lips of many Nigerians, against the backdrop of rampaging terrorists, bandits and kidnappers.
PAY ATTENTION: Follow us on Instagram - get the most important news directly in your favourite app!
In a statement signed by Segun Adeyemi, Mohammed's aide and received by Legit.ng said the minister had admitted that this crisis of insecurity has, unfortunately, been exacerbated by the twin evil of fake news and misinformation.
How fake news fuels insecurity
While citing some examples to clearly illustrate how fake news is fueling apprehension and anxiety in the country, Mohammed said on August 10, the Kaduna state government had to debunk an online report claiming that hundreds of bandits had laid a siege on the Kaduna-Zaria road.
He said the widely-circulated fake news even advised travellers not to enter or leave Zaria due to the presence of bandits at Dumbi and Jaji along the Zaria road.
“Imagine the apprehension and disruption of plans that this fake news could have caused. Imagine its impact on the security operatives who are doing everything, including paying the ultimate price, to keep us safe.
“Also, in April 2022, a drone video showing a group of five men wearing red clothes and cooking inside an unknown forest went viral."
Mohammed added that 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.
He warned that the video was circulated just to create panic among the citizens and put the 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 he has not been spared by the purveyors of fake news and misinformation, as countless numbers of fake news have been attributed to him.
Ending misinformation and fake news in Nigeria
Mohammed noted that his ministry is addressing the menace through the National Campaign Against Fake News and Misinformation, a nationwide advocacy campaign, in addition to working with various social media platforms like Facebook and Google to curtail the spread of fake news and misinformation.
He expressed satisfaction that many CSOs have joined the campaign against fake news and misinformation, while some newspapers have set up fact-checking desks to debunk fake news and misinformation.
The Minister commended NIPR for hosting the summit in order to promote dialogue and national cohesion, especially in view of the myriad of challenges to unity, peace and security facing the country.
Arrested suspect opens up, reveals why he wants ex-speaker Yakubu Dogara dead by all means
The Nigerian police had arrested a suspect who conspired to kill a former speaker of the House of Representatives.
During his interrogation, the suspect gave insight into his reason for working with other suspected killers to assassinate.
Yakubu Dogara According to the suspected killer, the ex-speaker was connected to an incident that led to the burning of his house in 2021.
Insecurity: Buhari gives final warning to military over Boko Haram, ISWAP, others
Security forces across the country have been urged to ensure the elimination of terrorists on Nigeria's soil.
The directive was given to all the forces of the Nigerian Military and other security agencies by President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to the president, it is important for the country that the security personnel do not relent in their effort to fight insurgency.