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Fake news more dangerous than Boko Haram - Rights activist

- Nigerian human rights activist has called on Nigerians to be wary of the spread of fake news across the country

Ibrahim Abubakar said fake news is more dangerous than Boko Haram insurgency

- According to Abubakar, fake news has proven to be an undermining factor in countering terrorism engagement as well as a sponsor and promoter of acts of terror in Nigeria today

A human rights activist, Ibrahim Abubakar, on Thursday, November 14, condemned the rise of fake news in Nigeria.

Ibrahim while speaking at a one-day workshop/presentation of the assessment report on the impact of fake news on the war against terrorism organised by the Centre for Social Justice and Transparency (CESJET) in Abuja said fake news is a higher threat than terrorism.

Abubakar who is the president of Save Humanity Advocacy Centre (SHAC) said that fake news is inimical to national security; hostile to the morale of the troops, and by and large is one of the demoralizing factors making the counter-insurgency operation more difficult.

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He also said that over the years, fake news has proven to be an undermining factor in countering terrorism engagement as well as a sponsor and promoter of acts of terror in Nigeria today.

"The rampant spread of fake news and its efficacy in relegating the real story to the bottom discourages the counter-insurgency efforts of the Nigerian Military both tactically, psychologically, and otherwise," Abubakar said.

In his recommendation to curb the menace of fake news in Nigeria, Abubakar said the Nigerian media should report and analyse terror as a matter of international priority.

He added that striking the right balance between informing the public without unnecessarily stoking fear or giving disproportionate publicity and attention to a terrorist organization is important.

“The people should also be taught how to use and rely upon vital fact-checking organizations even as they also cite sources as to what they post or tweet, making sure those sources are reliable," Abubakar said.

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"CSOs, instead of undermining the work of the military in countering terrorism in Nigeria, could be instrumental in limiting the spread of fake news that aggravate terrorist activities by raising the populace awareness towards boycotting news media and its relatable sponsors," he added.

Meanwhile, Legit.ng previously reported that the federal government has taken steps to curb the spread of fake news across Nigeria's media space.

The minister of information, culture and tourism, Lai Mohammed, said that FG will place a fine of N500,000 to 5 million to address a lot of the issues of fake news and hate speeches.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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