A National Campaign Against Fake News has been launched in Nigeria by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who described the phenomenon as a time bomb that can detonate with deadly consequences if left unchecked.
Speaking at a world press conference in Abuja today, the Minister also described fake news a a global epidemic that could be worse than all the plagues that the world has recorded put together, a clear and present danger to global peace and security, and a threat to democracy.
He said the fake news phenomenon is capable of undermining confidence in the media, adding: ”Once the people lose confidence in the media, the media and the society are in trouble. The essence of the campaign is to sensitise all Nigerians to the dangers posed to the peace and security, and indeed the corporate existence of Nigeria by the phenomenon, and the fact that each and every Nigerian has a role to play in curtailing the spread of fake news”.
He explained that though the federal government has been calling national attention to the issue of fake news and hate speeches since last year, ”the timing of the launch is also not unconnected to the role of fake news in aggravating the various crises in the country as well as the need to check this phenomenon ahead of the 2019 elections.”
The Minister said the government will use all the information dissemination tools at its disposal, work with both the traditional and social media, as well as the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to sensitize Nigerians. He said the campaign will, however, not involve the use of coercion and censorship, but appealed to the media to lead the campaign, and to Nigerians not to share any news or message unless they can vouch for its source and authenticity citing instances from around the world to illustrate the dangers posed by fake news, Alhaji Mohammed said a recent study by researchers at the Ohio State University in the US concluded that Russian interference and the fake news it promoted probably played a significant role in depressing Hilary Clinton’s support on election day during the 2016 presidential elections in the US.
The Minister said that last week, a national newspaper in Nigeria reported on its front page that a court has ordered the National Assembly to begin impeachment of Buhari, which was not the case.
”The problem with that news item is that it is fake news. According to the certified true copy of the order, the Presiding Judge of the Federal High Court in Osogbo ordered and I quote: ‘The applicants are hereby granted leave to issue and bring an Application for the order of Mandamus to compel 1st to 3rd Respondents to start impeachment proceedings against the 4th Respondent, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’. This was manipulated to read that the court has given the go-ahead for the National Assembly to commence impeachment proceedings against the President. Fake News,” he said
2Baba Suing Me, Claiming I Didn’t
Blackface Naija has for years been claiming his former bandmate 2Baba stole the song “African Queen” from him after their band Plantashun Boiz disbanded.
Blackface Naija had also claimed his former bandmate stole from him the song “Let Somebody Love You.” 2Baba had in May 2017 threatened to sue Blackface Naija for defamation of character if the latter doesn’t apologize and withdraw the “false and defamatory statements.”
It seems more than a year later 2Baba is going forward with his threat.
Blackface on his Instagram shared a photo of a Writ of Summons asking him to appear in court. He wrote:
2face idibia @official2baba& his manager Efe Omorogbe @efeomorogbe Sued me for 50Million They claiming i didn’t write #letsomebodyloveyou & #africanqueen n what else?? Just about time me and my #legalteamfiled for #mydefence
After which I will release my album #risingsun (defendervol2)
2face idibia @official2baba & his manager Efe Omorogbe @efeomorogbe Sued me for 50Million They claiming i didnt write #letsomebodyloveyou & #africanqueen n what else?? Just about time me and my #legalteam filed for #mydefence After which I will release my album #risingsun (defendervol2) #BFNfans #BFNmovement #goodoverevil #lightoverdarkness 🙏
Ekiti Guber: Observers Raises Doubt On Credibility Of Election, Rejects Template For 2019 Poll
Accounts of a coalition of domestic and international election observers accredited to observe the July 14 governorship poll in Ekiti has added to insinuations that the election is marred with irregularities that raises questions on its credibility.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) announced Kayode Fayemi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as winner of the poll but his closest rival, Olusola Eleka of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) rejected the announced result.
Presenting their report on the election, the observers who comprised representatives from over 50 domestic organisations, human rights groups and international election observer bodies, concluded that the process was riddled with lapses which influenced the outcome of the poll.
From unwholesome vote buying to intimidation of oppositions, the observers noted that the election was far from free, fair and credible as expected.
The observers include Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, Nigeria; Justice and Equity Organisation, Nigeria; International Republican Institute, United States of America; and Patriotic Women Foundation, Abuja, as well as the other bodies from the African Unions, among others.
Though, it praised INEC for the proper conduct of the poll in line with global and constitutional dictates and standards, the observers faulted the excessive deployment of security operatives whose abuses impacted on the election.
It revealed how electorate traded their votes for money in open space as supervised by party agent, adding that ballot box snatching, sporadic shootings and driving away of some party agents as well as intimidation, oppression and forceful influence of electorate’s free will, among others, characterised the poll.
Apparently dissatisfied with the conduct of their election, the observers held that the July 14 poll could not be recommended as a template for the forthcoming 2019 general elections as it fell short of global standards and spelt doom.
Addressing newsmen on behalf of the domestic observers, Gabriel Nwambu, of the Centre for Credible Leadership and Citizens Awareness, Abuja, said, “The exercise witnessed a high level of unprecedented electoral related challenges and such abuse will remain contentious until justice prevails, especially in the areas of cash inducement, arrests of political stalwarts by security agents and snatching of electoral materials by political thugs, among other abuses.
“Party agents had huge cash and were close to voting points. Security agents were indifferent to cash inducement of voters. The whole process falls short of the compliance with international best standards.”
Corroborating Nwambu’s account, an the International observers, Mrs Virginia Marumoa-Gae, of the IRI, USA, said voters were publicly induced at voting point across all wards and polling units in the state while security operatives watched the other way.
“Voters showed their ballot papers to party agents to collect money, thugs disrupted the voting process by shooting, but the police and other attaching security agents did well by establishing their presence at the polling units as stipulated by the constitution. We also noted that the INEC has improved on card readers this time,” she submitted
Two Nigerian men sentenced to a total of 28 years for swindling over $130,000 from Vietnamese women they befriended online
Two Nigerian men were sentenced to 16 and 12 years in prison for swindling more than $130,000 from Vietnamese women they befriended online.
In the judgment delivered on Monday, July 16, Ihugba Augustine Chinonso, 32, was sentenced to 16 years in prison while Onu Chinonso Peter, 33, got 12 years for “appropriating property through swindling.”
The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Court has also sentenced six of their Vietnamese accomplices to between eight and 20 years in jail on the same charges and for “forging seals and documents of agencies or organizations.”
In addition to the jail sentences, the defendants were required to return all the swindled money to their victims.
According to the indictment, the Nigerian men set up fake accounts on social networks, befriended Vietnamese women and promised to send them cash and expensive gifts.
Their Vietnamese accomplices then pretended to be employees from delivery companies, customs officers or police officers and demanded that the women transfer delivery fees, customs fees or fines to their bank accounts.
After each successful scam, the Vietnamese accomplices got to keep 15-25 percent of the money, while the rest was sent to Chinonso.
The gang was busted after one of their victims, Chau, reported her case to the police in February 2016.
Chau said she was befriended by a foreigner claiming to be British on Facebook in January. The man promised to send her $100,000 in cash and other expensive gifts a month later.
In early February, a woman claiming to be from a delivery company called Chau, asking her to pay a $1,200 delivery fee and a VND80 million ($3,500) customs fee for a gift from overseas, which she paid. The woman then claimed she had not received the money and had Chau send her another VND112 million.
When a man claiming to be an officer from Hanoi’s economic police told her to pay a VND200 million fine as her package contained a large amount of cash, Chau became suspicious and approached the municipal police for help.
The police quickly identified and arrested the fake police officer and his wife.
Following further investigations, police uncovered the entire gang and concluded that in addition to Chau, they had also scammed another 10 women out of nearly VND3 billion ($130,000).
At the trial on Monday, most of the defendants admitted to their crimes. Chinonso, however, claimed his confession as obtained under torture. The court dismissed the claim.
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