The Presidency on Monday in Abuja raised alarm over the increasing cases of fake news being propagated against President Muhammadu Buhari, cabinet ministers, government officials and institutions in the country.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, raised the alarm while reacting to the social media reports that President Buhari would be embarking on 20-day foreign trip to London, Austria and Saudi Arabia.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that an unfounded information has been making the rounds that President Buhari is billed to travel to the United Kingdom for 20 days, and from there proceed to Saudi Arabia, and then Austria.
However, Adesina described the information as fake, saying “it is nothing but falsehood from mischievous minds.’’
He said: In the past couple of days there is this trend that shows that there is an orchestration of fake news, the most violence, the most evil and pernicious that is capable of generating restiveness and throwing the country into total confusion.
“Since about yesterday (Sunday) the fake news has been trending that President Buhari would travel to London for 20 days and from there he would go to Riyadh in Saudi Arabia and from there he would go to Austria and then he would be away from the country till April 4, 2020.
“We have got many calls, many enquiries whether this was true or not. Of course, there is no truth to it at all. It is just handiwork of mischievous people who want cause disaffection, dissatisfaction in the country.
We know that Nigeria has been passing through challenging times in the past couple of weeks, particularly due to security challenges, now they have added disinformation to it.
Transportation Minister was said to have been attacked at Rigasa in Kaduna – he has denied it; the Air Force was alleged to have killed 250 insurgents – they have denied it; Zahra, the daughter of the President was said to have got a job through the backdoor at the Petroleum Products Pricing and Regulatory Agency – is not true.
“And now they said the president is traveling and he would be away for 20 days, and from there to Saudi Arabia, and from there to Austria – not truth to it.’’
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be careful with what they consume as news, and also share with others, particularly from the social media.
“Members of the First Family, Ministers, top government officials, the military, and other key institutions, are equally objects of this orchestrated falsehood, coming from enemies of national cohesion.
“We urge Nigerians to be discriminatory about what they accept as credible information, and restrain themselves from sharing what they have not authenticated as genuine.
“That is how we can all collectively beat the malevolent minds at their pernicious games,’’ he added.