Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has condemned what he described as “the fake news phenomenon” which according to him poses more threat to Nigeria than even insurgency and militancy.
Mohammed was speaking during the 7th National Security Seminar of the Alumni Association of the National Defence College in Abuja on Tuesday.
The minister said there is the need for the military to strategise on howto counter fake news with the same vigour with which it confronted Boko Haram.
“I see a greater threat to Nigeria and the threat is greater than insurgency and militancy, and that is fake news,” the Minister said.
“I think anybody who is a student of history or military history will agree with me that no war has ever been started by bullets or bows and arrows. Every war has been started by words.
“This phenomenon of fake news is a serious issue and I think the Armed Forces should also pay a great attention to it,” he added.
Mohammed urged the military to devise a robust communication strategy and deploy more and capable personnel to man its social media platforms in order to wage a cyber-warfare against fake news.
“This is why I believe that whatever we do today in fighting terrorism and insurgency, we must pay adequate attention to communication strategy. We must have our people who will be very active also on the Social Media,” he said.
The Minister cited an example of a post on the social media which some people attempted to use to set Christians against Muslims by claiming that Nigeria is the most dangerous place for Christians to live in.
Mohammed said that he quickly debunked the claims, adding that such unfounded report is capable of tearing the fabric of the society and causing conflict in the country.
Speaking further, the Minister said: “Two things happened last week. BothAsiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Chief Bisi Akande went to visit the President in London and a few hours later some naysayers said Asiwaju has denied that he ever visited the President. It took Asiwaju’s quick rebuttal of the naysayers to set the record straight.
“When U.S. President Donald Trump made a call to President Muhammadu Buhari, the naysayers again went on the Social Media to say it never happened. It took the intervention of the White House to confirm that President Trump indeed had a phone conversation with his Nigerian counterpart,” Mohammed said.