From Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The federal government has accused the opposition led by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) of using fake news to create disaffection in the country ahead of the 2019 general election.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, made this allegation Monday at the flag off of the national media tour against fake news at the Authority Newspaper, Abuja.
The national campaign against fake news was launched on July 11, 2018. The minister reiterated that fake news presented a clear danger to the peace, security and the corporate existence of the country.
He accused PDP of latching on to fake news as a campaign tool to cause disaffection between Muslim and Christian groups in the country.
The minister singled out fake news as the aggravating stimulus of the farmers-herders clashes in parts of the country.
“Purveyors of fake news are also exploiting the country’s fault lines of religion and ethnicity to divide the country. With the Buhari Administration delivering on its promises to fight corruption, build the nation’s economy and tackle insecurity, the opposition has realised it will not make any impact if it takes on the administration on that turf.
So, it has decided to take the easy route, which is to use fake news and hate speech to de-market the administration, pitch Christians against Muslims and one ethnic group against another. In short, they want to plunge the country into turmoil,” Mohammed said.
He said PDP was distorting the fact that the clashes between the farmers and herders were motivated by climate change – which has
heightened the contest for scarce natural resources like water and land – as well as demographic pressure.
He called on Nigerians to be wary of the fake news being deliberately mooted, especially on social media platforms, to exploit their national fault lines, asking them to verify the source of any news item being pushed and before sharing any information they can’t vouch for.