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In a statement released in Abuja over the weekend, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, unbehalf of the Federal Government raised an alarm that certain unscrupulous persons were hell bent on destabilising the polity
Buhari
 
The Federal Government yesterday raised the alarm that certain unscrupulous persons were hell bent on destabilising the polity through circulation of fake news.
 
Government 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.
 
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a statement in Abuja, 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.
 
The statement by Special Assistant to the minister, Segun Adeyemi, 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.
 
Giving details of the operational style of promoters of fake news, he said “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.
 
He expressed worry that websites of many reputable media organisations were being imitated and used to spread false information in order to gain some modicum of credibility, hence, his appeal to the traditional media with reputation to join the campaign against the ugly trend.
 
Mohammed also assured that government would soon expose the culprits and bring them to justice.

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