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Nigerian govt accuses opposition of using fake news to undermine 2023 polls



Ahead of 2023 elections, the Nigerian government has accused opposition of sponsoring fake news to undermine successful conduct of the polls.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who raised the alarm in a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said the antics of the opposition poses a great threat to the polls next month.

The Minister’s alarm did not come out of nothing, as several concerns had been raised around some factors capable of undermining the forthcoming elections.

Aside from misinformation, civil society organizations had charged the Nigerian government to ensure maximum security ahead of the polls, especially in light of the recent attacks on INEC facilities in some states.

The Supreme Council for Sharia (SCSN) had also advised the electoral Commission to conduct all the elections in one day purely for security reasons.

Speaking in Abuja, Mohammed lamented the endemic spate of misinformation in the country which he said had the potential to disrupt the polls.

“Please permit me to make a brief remark about the increasing wave of fake news and disinformation, permeating especially the social media space, in the run-up to the general elections”, the minister said.

Read also:‘Blind opposition downplaying Buhari’s giant strides’, Lai Mohammed slams ‘enemies’ of govt

“With about three weeks to the Presidential and National Assembly elections on Feb. 25th, I can say, unequivocally, that there has been a worrisome and astronomical increase in the use of fake news and disinformation, making this a clear and present danger to the success of the elections.

“This increase is undoubtedly the work of some destabilizing agents, some of them linked to the opposition. They are churning out fake news and disinformation on an industrial scale. Their sole aim is to destabilize the electoral process and plunge the nation into crisis.

“I have always said that this government will not stand by and allow some miscreants with access to phones and data to destabilize the country. I am therefore warning the purveyors of fake news and disinformation to desist.

“The government is not and cannot be helpless. We have a range of options to checkmate the use of fake news and disinformation, and we are looking at the best options to ensure that the agents of destabilization do not thwart the success of the elections with their unscrupulous resort to fake news and disinformation. A word is enough for the wise”, he added.

By Ambali Abdulkabeer

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