The Resident Electoral Commissioner, Independent National Electoral Commission, Lagos State, Olusegun Abaje, on Thursday, said fake news was one of the challenges capable of threatening the electioneering process in the forthcoming general elections.
Agbaje, while speaking during a symposium for journalists themed ‘2023 Elections: Fake news and its implication on security,’ organised by the Lagos State Police Command, said fake news had become the order of the day, especially with the advent of the internet.
He said, “One of the big threats to securing the electoral process is fake news. The alarming rate of fake news in Nigeria today is a cause for concern as it threatens national peace and security and is no doubt one of the dreaded challenges facing the country at the moment.
“According to a former Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, the #ENDSARS protest that almost turned the country upside down was triggered by fake news which emanated from Ughelli in Delta State.
“No doubt, fake news triggers religious crisis, genocide, communal clashes, jungle justice, electoral violence, etc. Ahead of the 2023 general elections, purveyors of fake news are not relenting in their malicious efforts to put the commission in a bad light.”
Explaining further, Agbaje said the Centre for Democracy and Development recently raised concerns on the potentially disruptive influence of disinformation on elections, adding that according to the centre, the common forms of fake news in elections include the dissemination of false information to discredit political opponents or to influence voters and the voting process.
The state Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, while declaring the symposium open, said the event was important because of the alarming rate at which fake news had become important because of the negative impact of fake news.
“Electoral disinformation, misinformation as well as the weaponisation of fake news along with incorrect and inflammatory commentaries pose a threat to national peace, security and stability,” Alabi said.