The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the high increase of fake news website in Nigeria is very alarming.
The minister said such unscrupulous persons were hell bent on destabilising the polity through circulation of fake news.
He disclosed that the purveyors of such dastardly materials, particularly on the social media, specialised in disseminating sensitive materials with either religious or ethnic connotations, in a bid to offend people’s sensibilities and cause disunity among the country’s various ethnic and religious groups.
In a statement in Abuja, Mohammed who spoke through his Special Assistant, Segun Adeyemi, said several major cases of fake news were recorded over the weekend alone, each of them capable of causing panic, triggering chaos or setting one group against the other.
He cited a gory video of a blast that allegedly occurred many years ago as being circulated along with the false news of a bomb blast in Abuja, adding that news of a non-existent bomb blast in Lagos was also widely circulated, forcing the police to promptly debunk it.
According to him; “the latest strategy being employed by the purveyors of fake news is to attribute to top government officials improbable statements that are capable of destabilising the polity, causing tension and threatening the country’s unity.”
Describing the fake news phenomenon as ‘the scourge of our times’ which will probably get worse in the months ahead, Mohammed, therefore, urged Nigerians to be very vigilant, so that fake news purveyors do not succeed in their quest to sow the seeds of chaos and confusion.
The Minister also assured that government would soon expose the culprits and bring them to justice.
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