The Federal Government has said that it has identified about 476 online publication sites dedicated to daily churning out of fake news to fight the government.
This revelation is coming after recent fake publications by those culprits on the mental state of President Muhammadu Buhari.
This disclosure was made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Monday in Abuja while playing host to officials of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), who were on a courtesy visit.
The Minister noted that fake news, which is taking a new dimension and threatening the corporate existence of the country, is having its negative impact on not just the government, but on every Nigerian.
What the Minister for Information and Culture is saying
Lai Mohammed in his statement said, “It will amaze you that recently we unveiled almost 476 online publication sites that are dedicated to daily engaging in churning out fake news to fight the government.
“The latest which I found ridiculous is the one that said days ago, that they had information that when Mr President was in the UK the last time, he was advised to step down because he could not even recognise members of his immediate family.
I begin to wonder how they can go this far, simply because they know that people are gullible and they will make the fake news go viral,’’ he said.
Mohammed noted that many marriages had been wrecked as a result of fake news, particularly through social media while people had lost their lives and many others committed suicide.
To buttress his position, the minister recalled a recent report where fake news almost led to the killing of 600 applicants by scammers.
He said, “A young man sent out letters to 600 people to enlist into Nigerian Army and collected N10,000 from each of them.
He asked them to report at the Okitipupa Army Barracks in Ondo state on a particular day to collect their letters of appointment.
At the same time, he alerted the Commandant of the Barrack that Boko Haram insurgents were coming to invade the barrack on the same day.’’
While accusing some members of NIPR of being involved in the fake news syndrome, the minister said the NIPR had a critical role to play in ensuring the fight against fake news as they do have a powerful platform to ensure that the menace of fake news is confronted squarely.
He said, “You will recall the sad incidence of the P&ID saga. It was a member of this institute, a firm of PR consultants that was hired to give the impression to the world that Nigeria entered into an agreement with P&ID and reneged and have to pay about nine billion dollars.
It took the combined interventions of this ministry and the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation to go to the UK to change the narrative to prove that the purported contract was a huge scam.’’