The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that the challenge posed by hate speech and fake news was a serious threat not just to the peace and security of Nigeria, but to its very existence as well.
Speaking at Chatham House in London on Wednesday, the Minister said Nigeria’s multi ethnic, multi religious and multi-cultural status make the threat posed by the phenomenon more potent and a clear danger to the nation’s unity”.
“Naysayers have latched onto the fake news phenomenon to exploit the country’s fault lines and inflame passion”, he said.
He lamented that the “age-long clashes between farmers and herders have suddenly been dressed in the garb of religion and ethnicity”, ignoring real causative factors.
The minister explained that the farmers-herders clashes became more persistent because of factors such as “population explosion, effects of climate change, keener contest for dwindling natural resources and sheer criminality”.
To tackle the menace, he said, “We have launched a national campaign against fake news and hate speech. The aim is to sensitize Nigerians to the dangers posed by fake news, how to spot fake news and what to do”.
He said the campaign had succeeded in bringing “issues to the front burner of national discourse”, stressing that “fake news has become a topical issue in Nigeria with the refrain: If you can’t vouch for the veracity of any news item, don’t share it!” As reported by Daily Trust