The special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Femi Adesina, has said the government will go as far as possible to stop the trend of fake news in the country.
Adesina made the statement on Monday, September 4, when he spoke on Channels Television’s show, Politics Today.
The presidential aide said the intention of the purveyors of fake news is to cause disenchantment in the country.
He said that was the intention with a recent report which alleged that President Buhari had planned to travel to the US.He said:“For instance, when they came yesterday (Sunday – September 3) with the fake news that the President was travelling to the United States of America today. If you see the last line ofthat story, they said that the trip may not be unconnected to the President’s health.
“Can you just imagine that? I took time to read some of the reactions that followed that fake news and you could see people say all sorts of rubbish. Thatwas their intention; so that they can expose the President to odium if possible.
”Adesina said government had a responsibility to ensure peace and tranquility in the country.
He said the constitution states that the protection of life and property is the sole responsibility of government and that fake news could erode peace in thecountry.
He said: “Fake news can lead to anarchy; we have seen what it did in Rwanda – it can lead to genocide.
So, it is the responsibility of government to do all that needs to be done to ensure that the country is not thrown into a tailspin by those who purvey fake news.
“Fake news and hate news have a thin line dividing them. You will find that people who purvey fake news are actually hateful people who people filled with bile who want to throw society into chaos. So, government will do all that it should do to stop it.
”Adesina also said the monitoring of the trends and the conversation online by the military was within the laws of the country.
Meanwhile, the Socio-Economic Rightsand Accountability Project (SERAP) has sent an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.
In the open letter, SERAP requested himto “use your good offices and leadership position to instruct the military authorities to immediately end any monitoring of activities of Nigerianson the social media.
“The letter was dated 25 August 2017 and signed by SERAP deputy director Timothy Adewale the organization.