*Assures farmers of low fares soon
By Ovave Mercy Maria
The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed today said that, the current campaign against fake news although not tamed yet, is succeeding.
The Minister made the disclosure when he took his campaign team to Peoples Media Limited, publishers of Peoples Daily Newspaper on a courtesy visit in Abuja.
He noted that the problem of fake news is not only peculiar to Nigeria but a global problem, and every country is evolving ways of dealing with it.
“Here in Nigeria, our approach is to appeal to the sense of responsibility of media practitioners, bloggers and social media influencers, ” he said.
Speaking further he said: “I have embarked on this tour because of the realization that the media is the best place to lead the campaign of course, the media stand to be the first victim, if fake news is allowed to erode the credibility of the news business, news organizations thrive on their credibility but if the society loses confidence in these organizations, it will signal their death knell.”
He explained that, fake news has taken another dimension, because it is uncommon for otherwise respectable media organizations to accuse the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without backing up their accusation with an iota of evidence.
“The latest of such occurred two days ago, when a newspaper wrote an editorial in which it resorted to the use of bad language to link the president to the farmers-herders clash, in their eagerness to de-market the president, they forget that the president is the symbol of Nigeria and that by degrading him, they are degrading the country and they are not just degrading the country, they are also destroying themselves, “he added
“The media are unrelenting because fake news is the only weapon they have against a performing Administration like ours, they know they cannot take on us on the issues of infrastructure, economy, fight against corruption, agriculture development etc. instead they resorted to using fake news to de-market our administrators but thankfully, they are failing, “he said
” The purveyors of fake news in Nigeria have not relented, if anything at all, they are perfecting their strategy of using fake news to distort the campaign for next year’s general elections. No doubt the main target of the naysayers is the Buhari Administration.
“They have used fake news to aggravate the farmers-herders clashes, they have used fake news to distort the fight against Boko Haram, thereby showing disrespect to our gallant men and women in uniform, who are daily making incredible sacrifices to keep us safe.
“This week alone, they have pushed a fake narrative that 48 soldiers were killed in an ambush, even when the military has said nothing of such happened, they he have also recently circulated fake APC primaries time-table, I must admit that our campaign has not stopped the spread of fake news.
“Honestly we were not under any illusion that fake news will disappear because of the campaign, but the campaign has recorded a huge achievement in less than two months: It has brought the issue of fake news to the front burner.
” Today, there is a heightened debate on the phenomenon of fake news, Nigerians are talking about it more and more they are beginning to flag fake news, this is a very good first step, we are delighted with this progress, and we sincerely thank the media for its support.
“Finally, we appeal to all Nigerians to join this campaign, this is because fake news remains a clear and present danger to the peace and unity in the country. It is a threat to our democracy, and indeed to the very survival of our dear country, if we can’t slay the monster of fake news, we must at least tame it. All we are asking all Nigerians to do are,” he explained.
Lai Mohammed praised President Muhammadu Buhari for his efforts in tackling insecurity in the country, noting the Boko Haram, herdsmen and farmers clashes, cattle rustling as well as the Lake Chad Basin crisis.
On the issue of scarcity and high price of local rice raised which the millers blamed on production cost, high transport dares, and smuggling of foreign rice, Lai Muhammed gave assurance that the Federal Government has put adequate measures in place such as massive development of infrastructure across the country that will result in the cheap price and availability of rice.