Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has disclosed that about 476 online publication sites have been dedicated to daily churning out fake news to fight the government.
He said this on Monday in Abuja when he received officials of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations on a courtesy visit.
Mohammed said the latest of the hatchet jobs by the traducers was the fake publication on President Muhammadu Buhari’s mental status.
“It will amaze you that recently we unveiled almost 476 online publication sites that are dedicated to daily engaging in churning out fake news to fight the government.
“The latest which I found ridiculous is the one that said days ago, that they had information that when Mr President was in the UK the last time, he was advised to step down because he could not even recognise members of his immediate family.
“I begin to wonder how they can go this far, simply because they know that people are gullible and they will make the fake news to go viral,’’ he said.
The minister noted that fake news is taking a new dimension and threatening the existence of the country.
He said the debilitating effects of the menace was not only on the government but on every Nigerian.
Mohammed noted that many marriages had been wrecked as a result of fake news, particularly through the social media while people had lost their lives and many others committed suicide.
To buttress his position, the minister recalled a recent report where fake news almost led to killing of 600 applicants by scammers.
“A young man sent out letters to 600 people to enlist into Nigerian Army and collected N10,000 from each of them.
“He asked them to report at the Okitipupa Army Barracks in Ondo state on a particular day to collect their letters of appointment.
“At the same time, he alerted the Commandant of the Barrack that Boko Haram insurgents were coming to invade the barrack on the same day,’’ he said.
Mohammed said his ministry had spearheaded the campaign against fake news years back before the menace got so bad.
He said the NIPR had critical role to play in ensuring the fight against fake news.