The minister of information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has described the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari for a second term in the recently concluded as a referendum on the integrity of the President and the triumph of the common Nigerians over the elites.
The minister, who was responding to questions by members and students of the Department of African Studies, Georgetown University, Washington DC, said that prior to the elections, there were a lot of misinformation and disinformation on the social media that would have marred or discredited the elections.
He said that with proactive steps, government overcame them, even as he decried fake news which he said was one of the major threats to the general elections, to the extent that some people had posited that if there are polling booths on social media, the opposition would have probably won.
He said that government is tackling the menace of fake news through vigorous campaign, which had helped to bring the danger to the fore.
He reiterated the position of the government not to gag the press or use coercion but appeal to the sensibilities of the people in fighting fake news.
Fielding questions on Boko Haram crisis, the minister said that the war could not be won only by the bullets, adding that there is the need to give hopes and opportunities to the younger ones being indoctrinated and rehabilitate the victims.
“Many of the younger ones are carried away by the terrorists ideology because they feel hopeless, excluded from governance.”
he said that in weaning the people away from the ideology and giving them hope and opportunities, the government would consolidate on its social intervention programmes which were put in place to encourage medium and small scale enterprises and allow people access to credit facilities.