By Salisu Sani-Idris
A group under the aegis of Abuja Grassroots Project has urged the National Assembly to enact a legislation against the purveyors of fake news in the country.
Mr Yunusa Yusuf, Coordinator of the group, who made the call at a news conference, on Tuesday, in Abuja, said such a law should ensure stiff punishment for the promoters of misinformation in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalled that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, recently revealed that the ministry had discovered about 476 online publications that were devoted daily to promoting fake news about President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
Yusuf said the group was increasingly worried over the high prevalence of fake news, misinformation and its consequences on peace and security of the country.
He stressed that it was high time for the NASS to come up with a legal framework that would prohibit the spread of misinformation, unverified news, while meting out punishment for those found to be circulating it.
” We call on the National Assembly to quickly make a law that will ensure punishment for anyone disseminating fake information on issues of national interest and security to the public.
” Government should no longer allow people to use social media and other platforms to dish out false information that is capable of disturbing peaceful coexistence in the country.
” We have realised that fake news and false information is largely being promoted by people who are not trained or registered to disseminate information to the public.
”As a matter of urgency, government should curtail the activities of such people or group, under whatever guise, because they do not mean well for the country.
” As a sovereign country, we must be able to look for a way to stop the purveyors of fake news in order to preserve our unity, peace and development, ” Yusuf said.
He condemned the organizers and sponsors of the “Buhari- Must-Go” protests, describing their actions as undemocratic.
Yusuf also criticised the protesters for taking their agitation to the Dunamis International Church, saying ” It is the highest level of irresponsibility for anybody to take such illegal agitation to the church”. (NAN) (www.nanews.ng)