See What Will Happen If You Spread Fake News In Nigeria
Over the weekend, gory video of a blast was circulated, with claims that it was something that just happened, but it was fake.
There was another report of a bomb blast in Lagos, but that was also fake news.
The situation has become worrisome for the Nigerian government which has now said it will not relent until it has exposed those behind what it called “the fake news phenomenon”.
If you are fond of reporting fake news, the government will come after you and bring you to justice, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed said on Sunday.
In a statement in Abuja, the Minister said those behind the fake news had the intention of destabilising the polity and causing disunity among the country’s various ethnic and religious groups.
‘Scourge Of Our Times’
According to him, a gory video of a blast that occurred many years ago was being circulated along with the false news of a bomb blast in Abuja, while news of a non-existent bomb blast in Lagos was also widely circulated.
The Police had debunked the fake news.
Mohammed said the latest strategy being employed by the purveyors of fake news was to attribute to top government officials, improbable statements capable of destabilising the polity, causing tension and threatening the country’s unity.
“This is why we are appealing to Nigerians not to ever engage in a knee-jerk reaction to any news, and to subject every information to a very serious scrutiny by checking with security agencies and government spokespersons,” he said.
The Minister described the fake news phenomenon as ‘the scourge of our times’.
“It will probably get worse in the months ahead,” the minister warned.
He wants Nigerians to be very vigilant to ensure that fake news purveyors do not succeed in their quest to sow the seeds of chaos and confusion.
Traditional media organisations were also asked to join the campaign against the purveyors of fake news and avoid projecting them.