Chairman, Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Oyo State chapter, Mr Joshua Akinyemiju, has urged the Federal and State Governments to identify and prosecute originators of fake news in the country.
Akinyemiju made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Ibadan, while reacting to the rumoured death of Prophet Kayode Abiara.
NAN reports that Abiara, a former General Evangelist of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), was reported to have died on Tuesday.
The Abiara family had, on Tuesday, issued an official statement, debunking the speculations about his death.
Akinyemiju said that government could use the National Identification Number (NIN) and network providers to track masterminds of fake news.
He also urged the government to carry out enlightenment programmes to let people be aware of the danger inherent in spreading fake news.
The chairman advised Nigerians to try as much as possible to always fact-check any information before disseminating it.
“Google can also help in this area. Originating false information is as good as telling lie. The book of Proverb 12:22 says that the Lord detests lying lips,” he said.
The CAN chairman urged Christians to always exhibit the fear of God in their daily lives, as stated in Ecclesiastes 12 verse13.
“If we obey that, we shall live rightly and long. People should denounce sin in all its ramifications because the wages of sin is death.
“Times are hard. So we must establish good personal relationship with God. In doing so, He will heal our land.
“All glory to God that Prophet Abiara is alive and kicking. However, it is not clear why anybody will wish the man of God dead.
“May God forgive the individual who originated the evil news, by the special grace of God, the Baba will live long,” he said.
Also speaking, the immediate past CAN Chairman in the state, Pastor Benjamin Akanmu, said that it could be disastrous to pronounce death or calamity on any man of God.
“There were rumours of Abiara’s death yesterday. Some people called me to confirm the rumour and I told them that it was not true. I didn’t even bother myself to confirm it.
“Owing to the spiritual implications such rumours can bring, I reserved my comments and prayed for the man of God. His son later dismissed the rumors,” he said. (NAN)