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Fake news will cause the next world war — Lai Mohammed

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has warned against what he believes to be the growing trend of fake news, saying it can result in the next World War.

Lai Mohammed said this when he appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values to defend his ministry’s 2022 budget on Monday.

“Information is not what it used to be 20, 30 years ago,” he told the committee.

“People of today, they don’t read newspapers, they don’t watch television — it’s social media. And it is the most expensive. It’s an unseen enemy, they are there every moment.

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“I have always said it here that the next world war will be caused by fake news.

“You can see even the US that used to pride itself on the freedom of the press is now questioning the role of the social media,” he added.

This is not the first time the minister will be making such assertions, as he has always been at the forefront of conversations around fake news.

In February, the minister had said the use of social media in amplifying fake news had become a form of cancer.

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He, therefore, called for collaboration among stakeholders to tackle the menace.

“If we do not take the issue of fake news, social media seriously, it will be at our own peril,” Mr Mohammed said at the time.

His comments also come at a time when there have been conversations around the Federal Government’s perceived plans to stifle the media via the regulation of social media.

In June, the Federal Government banned Twitter, days after the social media platform deleted a remark from President Muhammadu Buhari.

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But the government maintained that the suspension was needed because the platform had been used for activities that could destabilise the country.

With the suspension still in place despite public outcry, Nigeria joins countries like China, Turkey and Myanmar that have all moved to restrict access at some time to Twitter and other social media platforms.

Defending the ban, the Information Minister at the time, said Twitter must be registered and licenced locally for the suspension to end.

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