In a bid to ascertain and repress misinformation on social media, movie director Andy Chukwu recently embarked on a tour to document his findings from different regions in Nigeria on issues such as national security and ethno violence – two items constantly making news rounds on social media.
His findings are documented in a 30 minutes reel titled ‘National Peace and Unity’. The documentary presents first-hand affirmations of persons living in those regions. The basis for the interaction stems from a need to verify popular news stories that paints their communities in poor light.
“People try to create unnecessary fear,” Chukwu said explaining the effect misinformation has on the masses at a press screening recently.
He continued: “Sometimes, somebody would pick out an accident that happened in 1980, and tell you that it just happened now along Benin-Ore road. Once it is captured in video or picture, you are likely to believe it. They might end up saying some Fulani men came out of the bush and shot 30 people. We look at some of these things and try and see how we can cut down fake news.”
Experimental in nature, Chukwu pooled data from five states in the country: Enugu, Kano, Bauchi, Cross River, Bauchi, including the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. He gained insights from subjects across various socioeconomic backgrounds ranging from local artisans to traditional rulers, and government officials.
Powered by the Ambassadors of Voice of Change Initiative Nigeria (AVCIN), a non-profit organisation where he serves as vice president, Chukwu’s findings reveal that subjects in these communities live peacefully, as opposed to stories of gore published by implausible online news outlets to drive traffic. They did however admit to experiencing violence from time to time, but that it was nothing out of the ordinary when compared to other societies.
“The essence of these was what actually inspired us to take up the mantle to change these narratives such as Christians are killing Muslims and vice versa. We are not saying that there are no problems, but sometimes, it is being exaggerated.” Chukwu concluded.
The Nollywood juggernaut was also joined by his peers in the industry to support the cause at a private screening recently. Some of these personalities include Ejike Asiegbu, Emeka Enyiocha, and Charles Inojie. Personally, he strongly believes the message behind the project will help refocus the mindset of Nigerians towards embracing diversity that exists within religion, marriage, language, and culture.