The Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, have accused the All Progressives Congress and the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, of spreading fake news.
The PDP, therefore, asked the minister and the ruling APC to seek forgiveness from Nigerians for allegedly spreading fake news in the country.
Specifically, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Mr Kola Ologbondiyan, in Abuja on Sunday, said that “the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, should lead the government and his APC to do the needful, instead of the lame attempts at whitewashing the government and his party, even when Nigerians know that they are behind the escalation of fake news in Nigeria.”
He added, “Nigerians are aware that the phenomenon of fake news exploded to the current frightening proportion in Nigeria due to the desperation of the APC, whose spokespersons deliberately promoted outright lies, hate speech, insults and threats of violence as tools to gain political power, during the run-up to the 2015 general elections.”
Ologbondiyan added that the APC and its officials literarily fouled the media space by deliberately entrenching falsehood, fabrications, uncouth language and abuses as “acceptable’ modes of engagement, particularly in the social media.
He said, “The APC and the Buhari Federal Government misled and have been misleading the media and the public by stating outright lies, half-truths and fabrications in their statements and claims about governance, individuals and the opposition.
“Nigerians are witnesses to several false performance claims by the APC-led Federal Government including phoney political cum economic recovery and infrastructure development claims, which they project to be factual, even when the reality points to the contrary.
“Recently, the APC purveyed fake news in its declaration of President Buhari as the winner of APC presidential primary with fictitious 14.8 million votes, even when there was no contest and no ballot cast.
“The deliberate deployment of fake news by the APC in its attempt to smear the PDP and its members, ended up demarketing our country in the international arena and eroded the confidence the world had on our markets and business concerns, resulting in the current dearth of investments, collapse of businesses, job losses and drop in national productivity.”
He said that the APC should be remorseful and realise that its alleges use of fake news “has devastated our economic, political and social development by triggering fear, public panic and uncertainty; disrupting production, distribution and marketing chains and weakening foreign and local investors’ confidence in our system.”
Atiku, on his part, alleged that Mohammed lied in his report that International media query his emergence as a presidential candidate over his suspicious source of wealth.
He said that in the said report, not one international media was quoted by the minister.
Rather, he said it was the minister who was quoted alleging that that was what the international media told him.
The minister, while speaking in London, had claimed that some journalists had quarried the emergence of Atiku whose source of stupendous wealth could not be explained.
But Atiku, in a statement from his media office in Abuja on Sunday, said there was no single reporter or media house quoted by the minister, adding that the claim by Mohammed was bogus.