Kogi INEC Commissioner Blames Fake News on Politicians, Unemployment

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The Kogi state resident electoral commissioner (REC), Professor James Apam, Wednesday, attributed the preponderance of fake news and hate speech in the country on the political class and the high rate of unemployment.

Apam stated this in Lokoja, during a meeting on “securing the votes from fake news and violence,” said the political class had formed the habit of churning out fake news in an attempt to outwit one another.

He said politicians have been exploiting the unemployment situation in the country to engage jobless youths to write and push out fake news and hate speeches through the social media.

The REC expressed worries over the increasing rate of fake news in circulation in the country, saying that it had been eroding the credibility of elections conducted in recent times.

He urged Nigerians to stop taking election results announced on social media for real, saying the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was the only body constitutionally recognised to conduct and announce election results.

The REC also expressed displeasure over the inability of political parties and their candidates to come up with clear-cut manifestoes to guide voters on how to make their choice.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event was organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), in partnership with the state police command and with the support of USAID through the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Also speaking at the event, the state deputy commissioner of police in charge of operations, Mr Kabiru Gwarzo, said that circulation of fake news and hate speech before and during elections could trigger violence.

Gwarzo advised politicians and those behind the circulation of fake news and hate speech to desist from such acts so as to protect democracy.

 Project Director, NDI, Mr Raymond Esebagbon, said that the meeting was organised to promote peaceful electoral process.

He reminded the parties contesting the forthcoming governorship election of the need to conduct violence-free, issue-based campaigns.

The director stated that the gains of the present democracy were gradually being eroded by fake news and hate speech from politicians and their supporters.

He said NDI would continue to partner with relevant stakeholders to tackle the problems as part of efforts to ensure credible and participatory electoral process in the country.

NAN reports that leaders of registered political parties and some candidates for the November 16 governorship election in the state were present at the meeting. 

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