The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has admonished Nigerians in Diaspora to stop depending on Social Media for news about the country.
The minister gave the admonition in Washington at a meeting with the Nigeria Ambassador to USA, Justice Sylvanus Nsofor and the Embassy’s members of staff.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports the meeting is on the sideline of a High-Level Roundtable attended by the minister, organised by the Atlantic Council, an American think tank on international affairs.
Mohammed said that social media are, largely purveyors of fake news and misinformation, which could threaten the peace of a nation.
“Fake news and misinformation when mixed with hate speech threaten the peace, unity, security and corporate existence of Nigerians.
“Many people in the Diaspora depend a lot on Social media for news about Nigeria. However, 80 per cent of what you read on social media is fake.
“Please, we implore you to visit our website fgnnformation.iapp where you cab find information that is genuine about Nigeria,” he said.
Mohammed stressed that social media is aggravating the Nigeria situation creating the impression that the country is at war, ethnic and religious crises.
He noted that Nigeria is at peace, safe for investment and government is working very hard in its fight against corruption and to ensure security and the economy improve.
“When you go by social media, the impression you get is as if Nigeria is at war and as if Muslims are killing Christians and about ethnic war.
“However, hose disgruntled politicians have now tried to factor ethnicity and religion into the situation that we have in the country.
“Our challenges have nothing to do with religion or ethnicity,” he said.
Mohammed said the Farmer/Herders clashes was not new and the first case was reported in 1947 even before Independence.
He said the challenge is compounded by by population growth, climate change and in some cases, pure criminality.
“There were, however, a lot of misinformation on this. For instance, the two Rev. Father that were killed in Benue were not killed by Herdsmen but by militia,” he said
The minister said the government is deploying various mechanism to end the clashes.
“The government has taken the bull by the horn, deploying both military and police to curtail the crises.
“New Battallion are set up and new police formation. The military and Police have swung into action and the tempo has been going down.
On the economy front, Mohammed said the country is recovering very fast and all the indices is very positive.
“Foreign reserve has gone up from 23 billion dollar to about 47 billion dollar, we have gained 24 steps up in the world bank ranking on ease of doing business.
“Our stock exchange was ranked to be one of the six best in the world last year, return on investment is over 30 per cent.
“On Agriculture, our Anchor Borrowers Programme has been a huge success.
“In 2015, we had only five million rice farmers, today we have over 11 million rice farmers.
“In 2018, rice importation has drastically reduced, the government is working to give subsidy to farmers to bring down the cost of local rice,” he said .
Speaking on corruption, the minister said the country had made a lot of headway as confirmed by the recent conviction of high profile corrupt people.
The minister said some of the challenges being witnessed is because corruption is fighting back, but the government will not be deterred.
Mohammed said the most potent tools of fighting corruption is the Executive Order No 6, signed recently by the President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said: “The Order restricts dealings in assets suspected to be proceeds of corruption.
“It means is that when you are being investigated for corruption, you will not have access to the proceeds until the matter is completed.
“The important thing about this is that we do not want a situation whereby a person being investigated for corruption is using that same money to fight the government.
“We do not want situation where corrupt official on trial will transfer the money to other jurisdiction and when found guilty, we will nit find the money in the kitty.
“There is also the issue of security, we find out that a lot of the unrest is being financed by proceeds of crime,” he said.
He said those criticising the Order, were the guilty, who did not want to be caught.
Mohammed said contrary to the recent scathing report by Amnesty International, Nigeria did not have a policy of impunity or violation of human rights and the country abhors any human rights violation.
The Ambassador thanked the minister for the visit and called for more engagements of international think tanks to correct the wrong notions about Nigeria.