Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed has urged “Nigerians to disregard the fake news being circulated via a parody Twitter account and an old Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) news video that President Muhammadu Buhari is travelling or has travelled to the United States (U.S.)”.
A statement issued in Lagos yesterday by his Special Adviser Segun Adeyemi quoted the minister as saying one of the numerous parody Twitter accounts in his name, @MohammedLai, was used to disseminate the fake and ludicrous news that claims that the President is due to leave Nigeria for the U.S. on Monday “to condole with President Trump over the floods in Houston”.
Also, he said an old NTA News video being circulated on the Social Media claims that Buhari had already left for the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York.
“This is a 2015 NTA News video that was repackaged to look current and to give the impression that the President left Daura, where he is celebrating Eid-el-Kabir, directly for New York,” Mohammed said.
Mohammed urged Nigerians to disregard any news credited to any account in his name, either on Twitter or Facebook, adding: “Numerous parody accounts have been opened in my name on the two platforms, when indeed I have no Twitter or Facebook accounts.”
The minister recalled how the same parody Twitter account used to disseminate the fake news about the President’s purported trip was employed to circulate a fake report that he sharply criticised Senator Dino Melaye for attending the Notting Hill Carnival in the UK.
He said these two instances highlight the dangers posed to the polity by the purveyors of fake news and disinformation, and vowed that the Federal Government would soon fish out those behind the shenanigans.
“Fake news, disinformation and hate speech are the antics of the naysayers, those who are pathologically opposed to this administration. That is why we are urging Nigerians to be more discerning and to double check any information emanating from the social media,” Mohammed said.