The National Orientation Agency (NOA) implored Nigerians to imbibe and propagate national unity and interest and peaceful coexistence of the country.
The Director-General of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari, made the call at a National Fact-Checking Course IV in Abuja.
The National Fact-Checking Course IV engages more fact-checkers to address the scourge of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation.
Abari said that peaceful coexistence among Nigerians irrespective of ethnic or religious affiliations was vital to the nation’s social, economic, and political progress.
” We Nigerians must desist from disseminating information which is capable of causing confusion, crisis, and disunity in the country.”
” Fake news, misinformation, and disinformation hinders national cohesion of any nation,” he said.
Abari recalled that in 2021, the agency produced a five-year strategic document to train 37,000 fact-checkers to address the menace of hate speech, fake news, misinformation, and disinformation in the country.
Also speaking, Dr. Tobi Oluwatola, Acting Managing Director, Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, said that the training of fact-checkers was imperative than shutting down social and conventional media because of fake news.
Oluwatola described freedom of information as core to democracy, adding that shutting down social and conventional media because of fake news would hinder freedom of information and democracy.
Also contributing, Mr. Ibrahim Boye, the Director of Corporate Service, Securities, and Exchange Commission, lauded NOA for embarking on training of fact-checkers in all sectors of the nation’s economy. This action will go a long way in shaping the minds and behaviors of Nigerians to verify any information before they act on it.
The Managing Director of Galaxy Backbone, Mr. Muhammed Bello, who said that information travels wide and quickly, expressed concern over some Nigerians’ fake messages being sent daily through social media.
Bello, represented by his aide, Mr. Balarabe Garba, said that such mails by “Yahoo boys” portrayed the country in a bad image.
He lauded NOA for organizing fact-checking training, saying that the training would help in addressing fake information dished out on social media.
Mr. Austin Aigbe, Senior Program Officer, Centre for Democracy and Development, called for more collaboration between the public and private sectors to achieve NOA’s objective of training 37,000 fact-checkers in the next five years.