Resident Election Commissioner, Independent National Election Commission, Lagos State, Olusegun Abaje, said on Thursday that fake news is one of the challenges capable of threatening the electoral process in the upcoming general election.
Speaking at a symposium for journalists on the theme “2023 Election: Fake News and Its Implication for Security” organized by the Lagos State Police Command, Agbaje said that fake news had become the order of the day, especially with the advent of the Internet.
He said: “One of the great threats to secure the electoral process is fake news. The alarming rate of fake news in Nigeria today is cause for concern as it threatens national peace and security and is undoubtedly one of the feared challenges facing the country right now.
“According to a former Police Inspector General, Mohammed Adamu, the #ENDSARS protest that nearly turned the country upside down was sparked by fake news emanating from Ughelli in Delta state.
“Without a doubt, fake news triggers religious crises, genocide, communal confrontations, justice in the jungle, electoral violence, etc. Ahead of the 2023 general election, fake news purveyors are relentless in their malicious efforts to put the commission in a bad light. ”
Elaborating further, Agbaje said that the Center for Democracy and Development recently expressed concern about the potentially disruptive influence of disinformation in elections, adding that according to the center, common forms of fake news in elections include the spread of false information to discredit political opponents or to influence voters and the voting process.
State Police Commissioner Abiodun Alabi, declaring the symposium open, said the event was important because of the alarming speed at which fake news had become important due to the negative impact of fake news.
“Election misinformation, misinformation, as well as the weaponization of fake news along with incorrect and inflammatory comments pose a threat to national peace, security and stability,” Alabi said.