The Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed during a presentation at The Chatham House in London said that fake news is a threat to the 2019 general elections.
Mohammed said 2019 elections would indicate whether Nigerians have learnt any lessons from the ethno-religious tension, which characterised the last general elections.
“As the 2019 general elections approach, Nigeria faces a new challenge, a threat not just to the country peace and security, but indeed its very existence. It is the dual challenge of fake news and hate speech.
“Yes, the fake news problem is not unique to Nigeria, but it poses a more potent threat to the country because of its multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural status. It is also a clear and present danger to the nation’s unity. Naysayers have latched onto the fake news phenomenon to exploit the country’s fault lines and inflame passion.
“For example, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) recently did a report on how fake news is aggravating the persistent farmers-herders clashes. Pictures of gun-toting herdsmen from other lands are routinely used to depict the herdsmen in Nigeria. Age-long clashes between farmers and herders have suddenly been dressed in the garb of religion and ethnicity.
“Ignored is the fact that the clashes have become more persistent because of a mixture of many factors, including population explosion, effects of climate change, keener contest for dwindling natural resources and sheer criminality. Religion and ethnicity are not the reasons for these clashes.”