A peacebuilding organization, Foundation for Peace Professionals also known as PeacePro has raised an alarm, over growing numbers of professional fake news syndicates, well trained to impersonate legitimate bodies to project false and misleading perspective to instigate mass discontent against the nation.
PeacePro also said that, the organized and professional fake news syndicates are created to cause chaos and set Nigeria ablaze.
In a statement by the Executive Director of PeacePro, Abdulrazaq Hamzat, the group said that the federal government of Nigeria and the entire security agencies must see the continuous operations of these fake news syndicates as a national security threat, deserving of specialized operations to not only arrest the situation, but to also get to the root of their operations, including the motivation, sponsors etc.
According to Hamzat, the level of fake news in Nigeria is huge. It appeared that in the past few years, there’s organized syndicate, trained to create content, impersonating legitimate bodies to perpetrate certain narrative, in order to cause chaos in Nigeria.
Hamzat explained that, during the just concluded presidential election in Nigeria, several fake documents and reports, ascribed to legitimate bodies, both local and international, have been circulated on the social media, attempting to delegitimize the election, using the name of hitherto legitimate organizations to project certain narrative against the legitimacy of the country’s leadership.
“Our investigation reveals that most of these reports were fake and fabricated, but they are being pushed all over the social media to convince the populace about their truthfulness, thereby creating fatal ground for subversive actions” Hamzat said.
Hamzat explained that, some media organizations have also been misled by these reports and it has become more a regular occurrence in Nigeria.
“Few moments ago, European Union debunked one of such reports that has been widely circulated in its name, which confirmed the findings of PeacePro, but many more of such contents are in circulation, with the impersonated organizations unaware of the reports ascribed to them”
Hamzat maintained that, the impersonation of legitimate organizations to peddle misleading narrative on social media is a propaganda tool to convince the populace wrongly over certain claims and we believe this actions were deliberately being carried out by organized syndicates to gradually undermine the country in the mind of its citizens, which is often a prelude to a bigger action by organized none state actors.
PeacePro therefore call on the federal government to quickly pay attention to the issue beyond the rhetorics of condemning fake news or threatening perpetrators with punishment, to digging deep to understand the operations of the syndicate organization, motivation and sponsors”.
“We are in the information age, where wars are fought in the digital space to capture minds, to instill hate and anger or motivate people into subversive actions through false narrative to disrupt peace and security of nations” Hamzat concluded.
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