Chris Steven, Abuja
The National Forum of Democrats, NFD has urged the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Director General, State Security Services to deploy resources at its disposal to unmask those behind the false report of President Muhammadu Buhari’s death, with a view to bringing them to book.
It would be recalled that a news site, http://metro-uk.com had reported what turned out to be a fake news report of President Muhammadu Buhari’s death.
National President of the Forum, Alhaji Gambo Danbatta expressed concern over the danger of such fake news and the consequences it poses to the country’s democracy.
He said given the serious breakdown of law and order that this fake story about Mr President’s demise could have caused, there is need to track down and unmask those behind the story with a view to bringing them to book.
Danbatta described as sad and depressing that desperate politicians have come to this sorry pass where the issue of mortality that applies to all has now become ready tools in the hands of those who think Nigeria must remain in their pocket.
He pointed that there are procedures for confirming a death before going to town with the story, such as contacting personal physician, lawyer, next of kin or in the case of a world leader, the official spokespersons.
“The persons behind the fake news site are fully intended to deploy it for evil. They registered it from Scottsdale, Arizona, the US in October of last year and updated the site for this evil plot sometimes in April this year.
Thankfully, presidential aides were quick to calm Nigerians and assure them as the to the safety and health of Mr President, who was that time in the company of his best friend, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby at the Lambert Palace in London, the United Kingdom.
This has nothing to do with freedom of expression, which is not the same as freedom to lie, it is about criminals plotting to use fake news to destabilize the country.
The office should work with the relevant stakeholders to shut down the fake site while creating an early warning system to identify similar sites that will proliferate in the days ahead and build the necessary alliances that would make it possible to shut them down within minutes.” He said
According to Danbatta, collaborative efforts should be established globally to curb the menace of fake news as it has now been identified as an international concern.
“Our hope is that the real Metro newspaper would work with the British High Commission and the Nigerian authorities to track down those exploiting its name to commit crime. Those behind the fake news should be treated in this instance as no less than hackers who deserve to get the maximum punishment possible once identified,” he said.