The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has accused the opposition of resorting to the use of fake news as a campaign tool against the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government of the All Progressives Congress, APC, ahead of the 2019 general elections.
He made this remark in Abuja on Monday during a media tour in furtherance of the campaign against fake news recently launched by the federal government.
Mohammed said, “With the Buhari Administration delivering on its promises to fight corruption, build the nation’s economy and tackle insecurity, the opposition has realized it will not make any impact if it takes on the Administration on that turf.
“So, it has decided to take the easy route, which is to use fake news and hate speech to de-market the Administration, pitch Christians against Muslims and one ethnic group against another,” he said.
He accused the opposition of throwing caution to the wind in their futile attempt to divide Nigeria along ethnic and religious lines by using fake news to blame all the killings in a certain part of the country on herdsmen, ignoring the bands of deadly militia groups that are being sponsored by unscrupulous people to kill innocent people and put the nation on edge.
The minister cited the example of how the opposition is distorting the fact that the clashes between the farmers and herders are being aggravated by climate change – which has heightened the contest for scarce natural resources like water and land – as well as demographic pressure.
He said the morbid fear harboured by the opposition was that when re-elected in 2019, Buhari will consolidate on the fight against corruption, has thrown the opposition camp into confusion, hence the frenzy with which they fabricate and publish fake news in order to cast the government in bad light.
According to Mohammed, “Many politicians know that the only way to distract this government is to spread fake news and they are being very selfish and they have amassed so much wealth that they can continue to sponsor fake news at a very dangerous level for as long as they want.
“Many of them have this morbid fear of the President being re-elected because they know that in his second term, the war against corruption will start yielding fruits.
“There are so many cases in court today and they are just praying and doing everything to distract the government so that their cases will be scuttled,” he stated.
The minister argued that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, there is a re-distribution of the nation’s wealth from a few to the generality of the public.