Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the minister of information and culture has expressed concerns over the dissemination of fake news in Nigeria.
He said this on Thursday night in Abuja when he paid a visit to “The Labour Room”, Nigeria’s first reality TV show geared toward national development.
The reality show being hosted in Abuja assembles 37 youths, christened as “Governors”, selected from every state of the federation and the FCT at a location called “Labour Room Mansion’’.
The minister, who was fielding questions from the “Governors’’ on the challenge of fake news and disinformation in the country said that treasury looters were largely responsible for the menace.
“Today, it is those who do not want to go to jail but have stolen our money and who are been prosecuted that are largely behind this fake news phenomenon.
“They want to discredit the government so that the government will not win elections and they can come back to start doing what they are used to doing. “What are they coming back to do? Re-loot the money we have collected,’’ he said.
Mohammed said that the President Muhammadu Buhari led Administration had succeeded in “driving corruption under the table’’. “Before, corruption used to be negotiated openly, but not again. Today, nobody can boast that he is a corrupt person in Nigeria again,’’ he said.
The minister, who accused the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of sponsoring fake news on social media, said the party wants to come back to power because they wanted to cover up their tracks. “They still have money buried in farms that we have not gotten to, but by the grace of God with the whistle blowing policy, we will get to where they have buried all our money.’’
Mohammed said, although fake news and disinformation were a global phenomenon, the government was worried and concerned about it. He said most Nigerians accessed their information from social media “and unfortunately, there is no rule of engagement on social media’’.
“Before, we all know who a journalist is but today, anyone with a phone is a journalist. “Anyone today can go online, publish photographs and tell lies about the country,’’ he said. The minister said that the government was constraint because it did not want to make any draconian law that would restrict people from the use of social media.
He said the social media had its good and bad part, adding that it was unfortunate that some unscrupulous persons were using the medium for negative ends.
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