Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the escalation of the blockade of the National Assembly by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) was as a result of the circulation of fake news, especially on the social media.
Mohammed stated this, in Abuja, during a courtesy visit to the headquarters of Blueprint Newspapers.
The visit, according to the Special Assistant to Mohammed, Segun Adeyemi, was in furtherance of the Federal Government’s campaign against fake news in the country.
“When we launched the campaign, we did not envisage the kind of event that occurred at the National Assembly last week, specifically August 7 – less than one month after the launch.
“That event, during which the National Assembly was barricaded, is a classic example of how fake news can aggravate conflicts. In fact, it was driven all the way by fake news.
”A serving senator led the fake news onslaught, claiming that only APC members were being allowed into the chambers as a ploy to impeach the Senate President, while PDP members were barred – FAKE NEWS! No APC members was in the chambers at the time!” Mohammed said.
Mohammed further said but for the timely intervention of the acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the situation could have deteriorated and brought great opprobrium on the country.
Mohammed added that in the aftermath of the crisis, news that N21 billion and assorted weapons were found in the home of the sacked Director-General of the DSS also turned out to be fake.
He said fake news remained a clear and present danger to the nation’s unity and democracy, even to the very survival of the country.
He urged Nigerians to always check the source of any news item before sharing, calling on Nigerians not to share whatever they can’t vouch for.
Mohammed emphasised the need for the media to take the lead in the campaign against fake news in the country, which he said, has the capacity to erode the credibility of the media.