By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA—The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday said the recent crisis in the National Assembly was aggravated by the circulation of fake news, especially in the social media.
The Minister stated this in Abuja when he paid a courtesy visit to the headquarters of Blueprint Newspapers, in furtherance of Federal Government’s campaign against fake news, which was launched 11 July 2018.
He said: “When we launched the campaign, we did not envisage the kind of event that occurred at the National Assembly last week, specifically Aug. 7, less than one month after the launch. That event, during which the National Assembly was barricaded, is a classic example of how fake news can aggravate conflicts. In fact, it was driven all the way by fake news.
‘’A serving senator led the fake news onslaught, claiming that only APC members were being allowed into the chambers as a ploy to impeach the Senate President while PDP members were barred . No APC member was in the chambers at the time!.’’
Alhaji Mohammed said but for the timely intervention of the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the situation could have deteriorated and brought great opprobrium on the country.
He noted that in the aftermath of the crisis, news that N21 billion and assorted weapons had been found in the residence of the sacked Director-General of the Department of State Service, DSS, Lawan Daura, also turned out to be fake.
The Minister said fake news remained a clear danger to the nation’s unity, democracy, and the survival of the country, noting that “it cannot and must not be treated with levity.”
He urged Nigerians to always check the source of any news item before sharing it, urging the media not to share whatever they could not verify.