The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has alleged that the opposition will go any length at fabricating “ludicrous and fake stories” to discredit the government ahead of 2019 elections.
The minister made the allegation in Kaduna when he paid a courtesy visit to Governor Nasir el-Rufai on the sideline of the 47th Meeting of the National Council on Information, holding in the state capital.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that states Commissioners of Information, Heads of federal information parastatal agencies and other stakeholder attended the meeting with the theme, “Fighting Fake News and Hate Speech to Enhance National Unity.”
Mohammed said the opposition had engaged consultants whose main job was to churn out fake news at intervals to discredit President Muhammadu Buhari and the Administration.
He cited the examples of “idiotic story of cloning of the President,” alleged freezing of PDP Vice Presidential candidate Peter Obi’s bank accounts and arrest of the son of Atiku Abubakar, the opposition party’s presidential candidate.
The minister, who described the story and allegations as fake, said they were parts of opposition’s strategies to discredit the government and the President to win sympathy of voters ahead of the 2019 election.
He said the opposition resorted to fake news because they were intimidated by the achievements of the Buhari administration and could not engage them on issues-based debate.
He listed some of the achievements in the areas of improving the economy, fighting corruption and insecurity and building infrastructure.
Mohammed charged the states to compliment the efforts of the Federal Government in the fighting fake news and hate speech.
In his remark, Kaduna State Governor Nasir el-Rufai said the theme was apt and topical, adding that Kaduna was happy to host the meeting, being the state mostly affected by fake news.
He charged participants to come up with strong recommendation that would help in stamping out fake news and hate speech.