The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says insecurity in the country is exacerbated by fake news and misinformation.
Mohammed said this during his speech yesterday, at a summit organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, (NIPR), titled: “Summit for National Integration, Peace and Security”.
According to the minister, fake news and misinformation endanger the peace, security and development of any nation.
His words: “Let me cite some recent instances of fake news and misinformation in this regard. 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. The widely circulated message 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 agencies who are doing everything, including paying the ultimate price, to keep us safe.
“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 the British Broadcasting Corporation (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 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.
“We must also realise that security is the business of everyone, hence the tagline “if you see something, say something.” Terrorists or bandits are not spirits. They are human beings and they reside in our communities. They must all be exposed and crushed for peace to reign”, he stated.