Fake news about the Nigerian government making the rounds on the Internet are aimed at causing disenchantment and exposing President Mohammadu Buhari to ridicule and hatred, the Senior Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity has said.
Mr Femi Adesina in an appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today said there are many reasons why people will create and disseminate fake news – but top on his list is mischief.
“There are many reasons; I can’t speak for those who are behind this development but I can hazard guesses why they do it. One will be pure mischief – to just cause disenchantment in the country,” he said.
His comments come amid growing concerns by the government about fake news, hate speech, and what it said is the misuse of the social media to create divisions and threaten the unity of the nation.
On Sunday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, put out a statement rubbishing viral reports that the President would travel to the United States today to condole with President Trump in connection with the destruction carried out by Hurricane Harvey.
Mr Adesina who read the reports and the comments that followed has little doubt about the intention behind the fake news.
“If you see the last line of that 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,” he said.
“That was their intention; so that they can expose the President to odium if possible. So, one reason is mischief. To cause odium, to cause disenchantment. Another reason could also be to de-market somebody. You want to de-market somebody and play up another person. Then, of course, another one is they want traffic to their website.”