By Usman Peter
The social networking site, Facebook, has pledged to partner with the
Federal Government to check the spread of fake news and disinformation
in the wake of the outbreak of the Coronavirus in Nigeria.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who
announced this at a news briefing in Abuja on Friday, said it’s
obvious that the purveyors of fake news will scale up their act to
create panic and spread disinformation, following the confirmation of
the disease in Nigeria.
According to the Minister, “We know that at times like this, purveyors of fake news and disinformation usually ramp up their acts. We are therefore urging
Nigerians not to fall for the antics of purveyors of fakes news and
“Fortunately, Facebook is working with us in this regard. They have
asked Nigerians to report any false or misleading report on Facebook
and Instagram pages so they can immediately bring them down.
“They have also assured us that they are taking preemptive action to
remove any false or harmful messages about this epidemic and public
health in Nigeria 24/7. All that Nigerians are required to do is to
flag any false or misleading report on the epidemic and Facebook will
remove any such report,” he said.
The Minister said media agencies of the Federal Ministry of
Information and Culture, like the NTA, FRCN, NAN, and VON, have been
directed to intensify their ongoing sensitization and enlightenment
campaigns to arm Nigerians with the necessary information to stay
He said measures being taken by the agencies include enlightenment
jingles on radio and television, up-to-date reports on the efforts
being made by Nigerian health authorities to ensure proper screening
at the nation’s gateways and also handle possible cases, continued
airing of documentaries on the disease by the NTA and SMS
sensitization messages being sent to Nigerians by the News Agency of
Alhaji Mohammed said the National Orientation Agency, NOA, with its
wide reach (offices in all the 774 local governments), is pushing the
various sensitization/enlightenment programmes to all the nooks and
crannies of the country by translating the campaign to the major
indigenous languages to expand their reach.
He added that features on the disease (prevention, treatment, etc.)
are also being written and disseminated.
The Minister therefore appealed to all Nigerians not to panic, as the
Government is well-equipped to detect and handle any possible case or