President Muhammadu Buhari has warned against the rise of fake news and misinformation in the country, saying they have continued to pose a significant threat to democracy in Nigeria.
Buhari said fake news and misinformation have shifted focus away from issue-based campaigns to amplifying the potential for personal attacks, insults, and incitements, adding that this has significantly diminished the civility and decency in public discourse and debate.
He said this in a video-message to the signing of the 2023 general election Peace Accord by the presidential candidates, organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC), in Abuja on Thursday.
According to a statement issued on Thursday by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, President Buhari, who reiterated his commitment to peaceful, credible, and transparent elections, said what the Peace Committee, led by its chairman and a former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubukar, has been doing over the years, aligns with his belief that Nigeria needs peace in order to achieve credible elections.
He said: “The 2023 election is more than an election, it is an opportunity to serve Nigeria, to defend Nigeria and to uphold her unity and progress.
“Therefore, I call on all Nigerians, political parties, politicians, security agencies, the Independent National Electoral Commission, and all stakeholders to ensure that Nigeria is placed first above regional and sectional claims.
“I appeal to the contestants, especially their publicity agents and media advisers to shun personal attacks, avoid insults and incitement, reject the spread of fake news, and commit to issue-based campaigns and political rallies.
“Once again, let me emphasise that everything must be done to support the National Peace Committee in its work to ensuring peaceful elections in Nigeria,” Buhari stated.