The Department of State Services (DSS) has said the spread of fake news and hate speeches on social media poses the biggest threat to the 2023 general elections.
The agency, therefore, warned against misinformation and unguarded statements that could derail efforts to deepen Nigeria’s democracy.
Responding to questions from journalists at a briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, DSS spokesperson Peter Afunanya, said sharing of fake news along with incorrect and inflammatory commentary have led to violence in parts of the country.
According to him, fake news has the potential to do a huge amount harm to Nigeria’s unity, adding that media practitioners must shun fake news in order to promote unity, peaceful co-existence in the country.
He said: “we are into elections and political programmes have started. What the media and every stakeholders must do is to ensure that the game is played according to rules. Nigerians must avoid any act that promotes hate and disintegration and say no to separatist movement, terrorism, fake news, hate speech, religious bigotry and any act that tends to divide us as a nation.
“Social media and fake news are biggest threat to human existence not only to elections. Fake news is major cause of violence in our society now. As journalists, you should always fact check information before publishing.
“We must understand that Nigeria is the only country we have and every one must put hands on deck to ensure that there is peace. The media should should be up and doing in ensuring the peace is restored in the country.
“Slanting news to achieve ulterior motives should be avoided and I want to assure that the DSS won’t abdicate its responsibilities and would continue to do the right thing no matter whose ox is gored.”