Friday, 21 July 2017

There Is An On-going Multi Million Naira Project To Destabilise Buhari's Govt - Minister Of Information, Lai Mohammed Reveals

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has claimed that there is an on-going multi million naira project to destabilise the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari-led Federal Government. He said that the growing cases of hate speech, disinformation and fake news in the country are some of the plots employed by sponsors of the project to discredit the current administration.

A statement released on Friday by the Special Assistant to the Minister, Segun Adeyemi, quoted Mohammed as saying this at the Extra-ordinary Meeting of the National Council on Information (NCI), with the theme ”Hate speeches, disinformation, fake news and national unity.”

The minister insisted at the meeting held in Jos, Plateau State, that fake news and hate speeches are being orchestrated by naysayers and their sponsors to discredit the government, destabilise the polity and make the country ungovernable.

He said, “The campaign (to discredit the government) is a multi-million naira project and the people behind this string of hate speech, disinformation and fake news are not about to stop. In fact, they will become more vicious in the days, weeks and months ahead.”

The minister lamented that the resurgent push for separatism as well as the rising cases of ethnic and religious disharmony on the ”growing phenomenon of hate speech, as well as the disinformation and fake news campaign.”

He warned that hate speeches and incitement to violence set the stage for the genocide that left at least 800,000 people dead in Rwanda in 1994.

The minister traced the worsening cases of hate speech in the country to the period leading to the last general elections, when the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, was the target of a vicious campaign.

”Never in the history of electioneering campaign in Nigeria has such a quantum of hate speech been directed at any candidate. This did not stop even when he won the election and became President. For instance, the President had hardly left Nigeria for his vacation in London on 19 January 2017, during which he said he would have routine medical check-up, when these hate and fake news campaigners circulated the news that he has died. Between then and now, they have repeated similar fake news times without number,” the Minister said.

He cited three instances of disinformation and fake news targeted at him, including when he was quoted as saying the government does not know who will sign the 2017 budget, when what he said was that when the budget is transmitted to the presidency, a decision will be taken.

Citing other instances, Alhaji Mohammed said: ”On Wednesday, 26 April 2017, after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, I briefed State House Correspondents on what transpired at the meeting. I said, among others, that President Muhammadu Buhari did not preside over the day’s meeting because he decided to work from home that day. In reporting my briefing, one of the correspondents quoted me as saying the President would work from home henceforth, rather than on that day only.

Mohammed cited other instances he was allegedly misquoted and said there was need to tackle issues of hate speech, disinformation and fake news.

”We must be resolute in tackling the canker-worm of hate speech, disinformation and fake news. We as government information managers must embark on a relentless campaign against these evil tendencies at our various levels, whether federal or state,” he said.

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