The Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai, has blamed the prevalence of fake news in the country for the outbreak of violence during the conduct of the 2019 general elections.
Buratai stated in Bayelsa State when he led military commanders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to inaugurate projects at newly-established barracks of the 16 Division of the Nigerian Army named Camp Buratai.
The COAS noted that before the general elections, he launched Operation Safe Conduct to ensure the success of the poll and established the Nigerian Army Situation Room to manage electoral events, including countering of fake news.
Represented by Maj-Gen. Adamu Saliu, the commander, Training and Doctrine Command, Buratai nnoted that terrorist and subversive elements were deliberately spreading fake news, using the social media to influence public sentiment, cause confusion and ignite violence.
He said: “Just before the presidential and National Assembly elections, I launched the Nigerian Army Situation Room for real time managing of events during the 2019 General Elections.
“This decision was borne out of our previous unpalatable experiences occasioned by electoral violence which had now been made worse by fake news. At this point, it cannot be overstated that fake news and false propaganda pose dangerous threat to both democratic process and military operations.
“Use of media, especially social media, to deliberately spread fake news should be a thing of concern to all of us. Rapid spread of fake news had been responsible for misinformation, which has sowed confusion among the electorate.”
Continuing, the Army boss said: “The purpose of the situation room is among others to monitor electioneering process through the cyber warfare command of the Nigerian Army which also identifies and counters various forms of fake news and propaganda put out by terrorist and subversive elements. We are collaborating with all stakeholders to confront the menace of fake news”.
Buratai further insisted that nothing would stop the army from playing its roles in combating security challenges in the country in line with its constitutional mandates.
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