General news

Fake News : Centre  advocates investments journalism, technology companies’ regulation



Ms Idayat Hassan, the Executive Director, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD),  has solicited more support and investments in journalism to curb fake news.

He said that this would also address disinformation and misinformation by regulating the activities of technology companies.

Hassan said this at the ongoing two-day conference on “Compacting Misinformation and Disinformation in Nigeria’’, organised by the centre on Wednesday in Abuja .

Presenting a paper entitled “Towards the Future, Building Digital Literacy in Nigeria’’, the executive director cautioned the Federal Government against regulating the cyberspace as it might end up muscling free speech.

“I think what government should be doing is regulating tech companies.

 “We need a framework and system where we can get the tech companies to start demoting flagged contents immediately,” he said.

Hassan said thatvthere was need for government to work with tech companies to remove such suspicious contentsas being done in Germany.

The director also advised  the Federal Government to  carefully study the ecosystem before contemplating  to regulate cyberspace.

She stressed the need for Nigerians to report flagged contents to technology companies as well as fact-check information before sharing.

Hassan also called for sensitisation of people to the influence or impacts of social media and disinformation on their lives and the nation.

The director called for more investment in fact-checking initiatives that worked in local languages to ensure that  correct information reached the grassroots.

Former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, who served as Chairperson in one of the  discussion panels, described disinformation and misinformation as a deliberate act of sending falsehood in place of genuine facts.

Ezekwesili stressed the  need to pay  adequate attention to disinformation as it could undermine the development of the people and the entire  country.

Mr Khalil Halilu, a representative of a non-governmental organisation known as  “CWCD Africa”, stressed the need for automated data collection and rating of media outlets.

“We see how review has greatly changed dynamism in the e-world. Once we start to have rating system for media outlets and influential persons, that will go a long way to make people more conscious of what they send out,” he said.

Mr Abdullahi Mohammed,  the Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA) in Kogi, said that agency was looking at the way forward in stemming disinformation, especially  in the rural areas.

Mohammed said that the agency  already had authentication platform that helped people to crosscheck the authenticity of a piece of  information.

General news

COVID-19: Ban on public gathering still in force- Oyo Govt



Oyo State Government says it has not lifted the ban on public gathering in the state.

Mr Jide Ajani, the Special Adviser to Gov. Seyi Makinde on Media, made this known to newsmen in Ibadan on Thursday.

Ajani said: “There is a fake press statement presently in circulation, referencing some Executive Orders allegedly issued by the Gov. Makinde that the state was reopened.

“This fake news is not from Gov. Makinde’s Media Office, and the so-called Executive Orders are false.

“Being a member of Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force, I can confirm that no such decisions has been taken.

“Therefore, as of today, there is no lifting of the ban on public gatherings, including Churches and Mosques.

“Please, treat the statement as FAKE NEWS and another handiwork of enemies of the state.”

According to him, prior to this latest evil scheme, the Oyo State COVID-19 Task Force’s daily update flyer had been cloned and used to post incorrect data.

“On another occasion, they had posted pictures on social media depicting outbreak of violence in Oyo State when the Park Management System was kickstarted.

“Individuals, who can go to this extreme, vile and vicious extent, can do anything.

“Members of the public are please advised to ignore the statement,” he said.

Edited By: Edith Bolokor/Olagoke Olatoye (NAN)
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Lockdown: Fake NSCDC official arrested, quarantined in Ebonyi-Commandant



The Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Ebonyi Command, has said that one James Mbah, arrested in Ebonyi, who claimed to be a staff of the NSCDC was an impersonator.

The NSCDC Ebonyi Commandant, Lucy Samu, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abakaliki on Sunday that the suspect had been quarantined to ascertain his COVID-19 status.

NAN reports that the suspect, Mr James Mbah, was arrested at the Timber Shed Junction on Afikpo/Abakaliki Expressway on April 30 by officials of the state’s Neighbourhood Watch while conveying two persons on his motorcycle.

Mbah, who hails from Ishieke in Ebonyi Local Council of Ebonyi, claimed to be an official of NSCDC in Anambra.

Samu told NAN that Mbah was not an officer of the corps but an ‘impersonator,’ who wore NSCDC uniform to beat the state’s restriction of movement order.

Samu said that she had inquired from the Anambra Command of the corps and was informed that Mbah was not a staff there nor was he on its payroll.

“The Anambra commandant said he also inquired from the Divisional Office, where Mbah claimed he was attached, he was not also on the staff list.

“He is also not a staff in the Ebonyi office or on our payroll. He (allegedly) wore the NSCDC uniform and paraded himself as our officer but he is not one of us,” she said.

The NSCDC Ebonyi commandant said that the suspect had been quarantined and would receive all necessary checks before being prosecuted.

“This is to ascertain his COVID-19 status and if negative, he will be handed over to us for prosecution but if positive, will receive the necessary treatment before prosecution.

“I have advised the COVID-19 taskforce team and relevant security agencies to properly check the identities of anyone who claims to be a security personnel.

“They should also demand for a travel pass from the head of the concerned security outfit,” she said.

Mr Stanley Okoro-Emegha, State Commissioner for Border Peace and Internal Security, confirmed to NAN that Mbah claimed to be attached to the NSCDC office in Umunze, Anambra.

“The state government’s directive is that any Ebonyi indigene who gets to any of its boundaries would not be sent back but brought to its withholding centre in Abakaliki for quarantine and testing.

“Mbah will however be prosecuted by the NSCDC as the state commandant informed us that he was not their staff,” Okoro-Emegha said.

Edited By: Joe Idika/Obike Ukoh (NAN)


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General news

Covid-19: Fake news purveyors to be sanctioned, Lai Mohammed says



The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has said that purveyors of fake news would be apprehended and sanctioned.

Mohammed said while fielding questions from newsmen at the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19  daily press briefing on Wednesday in Abuja.

He said that security agencies were working to apprehend those behind fake news, adding that such people would be punished according to the law.

The Minister said that no nation would sit akimbo while its citizenry peddle fake news, stressing that the Federal Government would not allow fake news to thrive.

According to him, we will go after the merchant of fake news; those behind such news will soon be unravelled.

In a related development, the Minister of State for Education, Mr Emeka Nwajiuba has dismissed the report that the federal government had ordered the closure of school until November.

Nwajiuba said that the letter in circulation was fake, adding that if the ministry was going to issue any press release to that effect it would not be laced with grammatical errors.

He urged the public to discountenance the news, as there was no element of truth in it.

The statement earlier released by the ministry read, “the Federal Ministry of Education has disowned a press release circulating on multiple social media platforms insinuating that schools will reopen in November 2020.

The ministry described the press release as the handiwork of an illiterate who, going by the content appeared to be mental.

The statement asked parents, students and the general public to disregard the release in its entirety, as there was no iota of truth about it.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
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General news

Fake news: Nasarawa Youth Assembly sacks Speaker



The Youth Assembly of Nigeria (YAN), Nasarawa State Chapter, has impeached Mr Ja’afar Loko as Speaker of the body over alleged abuse of power and other misconducts.

Mr Jesse Gimba, the new Speaker of the assembly made this known on Monday while addressing newsmen in Lafia.

Gimba, the former Deputy Speaker, said that the removal of his predecessor followed a vote of no confidence passed by members on Loko’s leadership style.

He said that the action of the former speaker had brought the name of the association into disrepute and ridicule.

“YAN as a revered and non-political group was needlessly dragged into issues through the activities of the former speaker and who incidentally is an aide to the SSG.

“This said action, inadvertently brought the name of YAN into disrepute and ridicule.

“More disheartening was the fake news accusing Assembly members of collecting N11 million for COVID-19 palliative from Gov. Abdullahi Sule purported to have emanated from some members of this respective body (YAN).

“This has further undermined our collective efforts as youths and also insulted our sensibilities,” he said.

Loko is the Media Aide to the Secretary to Nasarawa State Government (SSG), Alhaji Aliyu Tijani Ahmed.

Gimba said that the impeached speaker has failed to defend himself when the association gave him the opportunity to do so.

“After giving him (the former speaker) the ample opportunity to come and defend himself and he could not, we the elected officials had no choice than to apply the necessary steps of making changes at the leadership to save the hard earned reputation of the YAN as a body.

“This will also allow the former speaker to work freely and discharge his duties to his boss without necessarily dragging the entire youth body into it,” he said.

The new speaker appealed to the state House of Assembly to reconsider its earlier decision to arrest the said erring members and forgive them.

“We, therefore, offer an unreserved apology to the respected House of Assembly members and plead that they shield their swords and allow our existing cordial relationship to blossom,” Gimba urged.

The association acknowledged the effort of Gov. Abdullahi Sule in managing the situation of COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

NAN recalls that Nasarawa Assembly on April 14, ordered the arrest of Loko for allegedly inciting the public against the lawmakers that received money as palliatives for their constituents over COVID-19 pandemic.

Edited By: Chidi Opara/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
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