Fake news threatens general elections, Lai Mohammed insists
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday, decried the increasing wave of fake news and disinformation traversing social media three weeks before the 2023 general elections.
He stated that the trend had increased to an industrial scale despite warnings by the government to clamp down on fake news purveyors.
The minister said these while addressing guests before the presentation of the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Niyi Adebayo, at the 21st session of the Presidential Scorecard series, held at the National Press Centre in Abuja.
Mohammed, who pointed accusing fingers at the opposition, promised to ensure agents of decentralisation do not disrupt the success of the elections.
He said, “Before I invite our special guest to the podium, please permit me to make a brief remark about the increasing wave of fake news and disinformation permitting especially the social media space drawn up to the General elections.
“Recall ladies and gentlemen during the fourth edition of this series on November 22, as I said fake news and disinformation constitute a present threat, a potent threat to the elections because they are capable of tampering with its success. And we reiterated this during the 12th edition on December 14 2022.
“About three weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections on February 25, I can say unequivocally that there has been a worse and astronomical increase in the use of fake news and disinformation, making this a clear and present danger to the success of the elections.
“This increase is undoubtedly the work of some destabilising agents some of them linked to the opposition. They’re churning out fake news and disinformation on an industrial scale.
“Their sole aim is to destabilize the electoral process. I’ve always said that this government will not stand by and allow some miscreants with access to phones and data to destabilise the country.
“I am, therefore, warning the purveyors of fake news and disinformation to desist. The government is smart and cannot be helpless.
“We have options to checkmate the use of fake news and disinformation, and looking at the best options to ensure that agents of decentralization do not disrupt the success of the elections.”