The Federal Government is overhauling old laws and working on new ones to fight hate speech and fake news.
The new government effort is coming on the wake of a newspaper report last week that about the de-commissioning of female cadets into the Nigerian Armed Forces.
There has been growing concern, in recent times, by institutions and the government in particular, about the menace of fake news being circulated especially on social media, with some experts warning that if left unchecked, the country risks sinking into chaos.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in reaction to the news report published by a major national newspaper, which based its source on an online medium, said: “Within our laws, we have enough to tackle this trend. I think it was Barrister Femi Falana SAN, who made a pronouncement a week or two ago, that, already in our statutes, we have provisions that can deal with fake news and hate news.”
“So, it is just a matter of implementing what we have – using the laws that we have and anybody that is caught being behind fake news or hate news should just answer for it,” said Adesina.
The Nigerian military was forced to dispel the rumours, which had quoted an unnamed army general to have told the online media that President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the recommendations of the Army Council to de-commission female cadets.
The Director of Defence Information, Major General John Enenche, said in Abuja, that the media report about stoppage of training female cadets in order to be commissioned as Regular Combatant officers into the Armed Forces of Nigeria was an act of disinformation to the general public by mischievous individuals.
“The contents of all those publications are ill-intended concoctions, not authentic and should therefore be disregarded out rightly,” he said.
“Extantly, the provision in the terms and conditions of service for female officers of the Nigerian Military is that ‘They are eligible for all the types of Commission that are grantable to their male counterparts’, which has not changed,” he further stated.