“If you incessantly repeat a lie, the lie would become reality,” says Joseph Goebbels, German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda from 1933 to 1945.
Social media was recently awash with Buhari’s alleged move to take a new wife, the gossip gained much currency and like a wild fire spread without any official denial.
The rumour which emanated from social media was fuelled by the absence of the First Lady who later disclosed that her absence was due to ill health.
“Fake news will lead this country to something else if actions are not taken with immediate effect,” Aisha Buhari said on her returned from the United Kingdom on Oct. 13
Her comment was sequel to President Muhammadu Buhari’s rumoured marriage to Hajia Sadiya Farouk, the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development.
Section 39 (1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) provides for the freedom of speech and expression without limitation.
However such right does not exist in a vacuum, as it comes with criminal or civil defamation that could send the culprits to jail.
Though speculations were earlier rife that Aisha’s inability to pull her weight round the Villa recently was due to infighting.
But, Mr Suleiman Haruna, the Director of Information to the First Lady, debunked the insinuation, stating that there was nothing like infighting in Aso Villa due to Aisha’s absence in the country for about two months
Some Nigerians, who would not want to take the information of the president’s proposed wedding with a pinch of salt, went further to `feed their eyes’ on Friday at Abuja Central Mosque.
The mosque prayer witnessed seemingly unprecedented number of faithful in what appeared to be an attempt by some curious worshippers cum observers to confirm or disbelief the story.
The wedding date was also widely circulated on the social media with Facebook and Twitter users aiding its circulation.
Dr Nathan Oguche of the Department of Mass Communication, Kogi State University, Ayingba, noted that the issue of fake news is a very complex one, adding that when there was no information; people would sell what was available.
He added that this notwithstanding, whether such information was real or not, promoters of fake news would go to town with what was available.
According to him, when people are creating the issue of Buhari getting married, it ought to be denied immediately.
“When you want to counter falsehood, you have to counter it with facts, but when facts are not available, people will continue to perpetrate this falsehood as facts until facts come to counter it,” he said.
He stated that when the citizenry were being suffocated and denied valuable information, the only option left was for them to trade in falsehood with the information at their disposal.
According to him, that is the basic problem we have within our government and in our democratic set up.
“We must curtail fake news by bringing out facts and you have to use the mainstream media to counter this falsehood,” he stated.
“You know in online news, your story is given prominence by the number of times that those stories are read and in order to generate traffic to your website, the handler deliberately sell out fake news,” Oguche noted.
According to him, I quickly dispel it even when there was no official information from the president’s media aides.
“I just know within me that such information should not be trusted, so I did not share it in anyway because they do not look true and genuine.’’
He called on those in the media industry to always do a fact check whenever they see such information, adding that it is the responsibility of the media to inform the populace.
Mr Donald Martins, a legal practitioner, said following the rumoured wedding of Buhari on the social media, there is an urgent need for the regulation of social media to stem the tide of abuse and fake news.
The legal practitioner stated that unverified and fake news were capable of causing confusion in the polity and also breed disaffection within the family circle of the country’s first citizen.
He said that many people fell for the fake news, to the extent that there were printed wedding invitations online.
He said that those behind the fake story were mischief makers who were bent on creating smoke where there was no fire.
Ms Frisk Larr, a social commentator, said it was unfair for some people to spread such fake information without recourse to the feeling of their target.
“The president’s wife is reportedly estranged, a minister is claimed to be replacing her in the matrimonial household.
“On the reported wedding day that was to hold in Abuja, the lady was spotted in New York.
“Now, while it may be normal or perhaps legitimate to throw dirt on the president, on whose head lies the uneasy crown, what has Aisha Buhari done to merit this smear.
“What has the minister done to be dragged into this mess, do people imagine the damage they are causing to others, when spreading malicious messages,” she questioned.
As Goebbels said, if you incessantly repeat a lie, the lie would become a reality; fake news is an ill wind and should be checked.
Buhari, Folarin mourn Oyo politician, Adelere
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the late Pa Adelere, an elder statesman and commited follower of Chief Obafemi Awolowo from Iseyin Local Government Area, died on Friday, aged 90.
late frontline politician believed and worked for the progress of Iseyin, Oke-Ogun and Oyo State as a whole.
He described the deceased politician as a giant and one of the surviving disciples of the Awolowo school of thought.
“Even after the demise of the late sage and when others abandoned the Awoist camp for other political philosophy, he remained steadily on the Awo progressive track,” he said.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Land Transport, described the late Adelere as a great politician who believed in serving humanity in one’s best ability.
According to him, “I had a very good relationship with Late Pa Adelere. He was a political leader and father who produced many worthy political leaders during his life time.”
Buhari prayed that God grant the soul of the political stalwart eternal rest and reward his good deeds on earth with Aljanna Firdaous.
The lawmaker also prayed that Allah uphold all members of his family left behind.
Buhari approves Danbatta’s reappointment as NCC’s boss, says Minister
The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Pantami, says President Muhammadu Buhari has approved reappointment of Prof. Umar Danbatta as Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
The minister said it was an effort to consolidate the gains made in the telecommunications sector in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy of the country.
He also informed that Danbatta’s reappointment was based on his recommendation in line with the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003.
Pantami congratulated the EVC and directed him to significantly improve on the overall performance of the commission to ensure adequate mechanisms were in place to facilitate implementation of all policies of Federal Government through the ministry.
He, however, enjoined him to ensure that the interests of telecommunication consumers, Nigerians and investors were adequately protected.
Buhari, Muslim faithful observe Juma’at Prayer as FCT reopens worship centres
NAN further reports that the protocol of social distancing was also strictly observed in line with guidelines on public gathering, and only senior staff of the Villa were allowed to attend the prayer session.
Buhari mourns ex-Governor Bamidele Olumilua
The President’s condolence message was conveyed in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Thursday.
The President sympathised with family members, friends and associates of the former governor, who worked very hard to improve infrastructure and livelihood of people in the state.
He affirmed that Olumilua played an active role in the return of democracy in the country, and served as Chairman, Christian Pilgrims Board.
The President prayed that the almighty God would receive the soul of the departed and comfort his family.
edited by Sadiya Hamza
Buhari’s agricultural revolution to create 5m jobs, inject $10bn into economy
The President Muhammadu Buhari’s agriculture revolution programme tagged “The Green Imperative’’ will create about five million jobs and inject over 10 billion US Dollar (about N3.8 trillion) into the economy within 10 years.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Thursday at a media briefing to set the stage for the implementation of the mechanised farming programme.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the briefing was jointly addressed by Mohammed and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono.
He said funding for the programme would come from the Development Bank of Brazil (BNDES) and Deutsche Bank.
The minister added that insurance was provided by Brazilian Guarantees and Fund Managements Agency (ABGF) and the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Export Credit (ICIEC) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and coordinated by Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV).
Explaining how the programme would revolutionise agriculture, the minister said six motor assembly plants would be reactivated in the six-geopolitical zones of the country for assemblying of tractors and other implements.
He said 632 mechanisation service centres would also be established to support primary production in the 774 Local Government Areas and the Federal Capital Territory.
“This will create 774 service centers nationwide to mechanise our farming methods and process or add value to farm produce locally.
“It will lead to efficiency and eliminate post-harvest losses, thereby cutting down cost of food all year round.
The minister disclosed that private sector operators would operate and manage all the service centres and the assembly plants.
He said no fewer than 100,000 extension workers would be trained within three years and the programme would impact over 35 million persons nutritionally and economically.
The minister said The Green Imperative dated back to June 6, 2016, when the country decided to enrol in Brazil’s Government-to-Government More Food International Programme (MFIP).
He recalled that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo launched the programme officially on January 17, 2019, in the presence of the representatives of Brazil, Deutsche Bank as well as Brazilian and Nigerian private sector.
For his part, Nanono gave the assurance that the programme would not be hijacked by politicians and that it would be private sector driven while government would only provide the policy framework.
He said participation would be through limited liability companies, cooperative societies and farmers’ associations.
“People must take this programme very serious; they should take the opportunity by beginning to form cooperative societies and farmers’ associations,’’ he said.
The minister said that the youths would be the major target of the mechanised farming programme and would-be participants should not be discouraged by the challenge of insecurity, now being addressed by government.
Buhari greets former Gov. Alao Akala at 70
In a congratulatory message released by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, the President saluted the Ogbomoso-born grassroots politician.
He lauded him for ability to blend with all classes of society, and touching lives positively.
Appoint Dongban-Mensem substantive Appeal Court President-Plateau House of Assembly begs Buhari
Members of the Plateau House of Assembly have appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint Acting President, Court of Appeal, Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, in a substantive capacity.
Buhari on May 29, extended her acting appointment for another three months.
The Plateau lawmakers during plenary on Tuesday, appealed to the President to appoint her in substantive capacity stating that she eminently qualified to be so appointed.
Mr Philip Dasun (APC, Pankshin North) who moved the motion of urgent public importance, said,”Mr Speaker, it is expected that she would be appointed in substantive capacity after three months in acting capacity.
“We are calling on other authorised bodies to lend their voice to this call,” he said.
Group petitions Buhari over lopsidedness in siting of educational institutions in Ebonyi
The Ebonyi North Elders Consultative Assembly has petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari against the siting of the newly approved Federal College of Education in Isu community in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.
In the petition, the group stated that the decision by the Federal Ministry of Education (FME) to site the college in the area defeated the principle of fairness, equity and justice.
It argued that two of the three federal tertiary educational institutions in the state had already been sited in Ebonyi south, hence the district did not deserve to have more.
It was captioned, “An Open Letter To President Muhammadu Buhari, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria: Petition against the siting of the Federal College of Education (allocated to Ebonyi) at Isu, Onitcha LGA in Ebonyi South Senatorial District.”
It demanded that the institution be sited in any area in Ebonyi North Senatorial Distric, comprising Izzi, Ohaukwu, Ebonyi and Abakaliki LGAs, in line with the nation’s Federal Character principle.
The assembly, which comprises leaders of thought from the district, commended the president and the National Assembly for approving the establishment of the college in the state.
It said: “We believe that the selection of Ebonyi, alongside four others, was meant to ensure that states that hitherto had no federal tertiary educational institutions were accommodated in line with federal character principle.
“This is in contradiction to the principle of fairness, equity and justice, considering the indisputable fact that the district has two of the three federal tertiary institutions in the state, namely Akanu Ibiam Federal Polytechnic and Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu.
“Despite far-reaching representations made by various groups, the FME went ahead to approve the siting of the college at Isu community in Ebonyi South, thereby making the district to have three federal educational institutions.”
The group stated that the development could worsen the already skewed distribution of federal tertiary institutions in the state, if not reversed.
The petition was signed by 15 members of the assembly, including Prof. Richard Idike, former Vice Chancellor of Ebonyi State University, Sen. Chris Nwankwo, Sen. Sylvester Ngele, Rt. Rev Monday Nkwoegu, the Bishop of Abakaliki Anglican Communion.
Others were Rev. Emmanuel Nshii, State Overseer, Assemblies of God Church; Chief Austin Edeze, Chairman, Governing Council, Federal Polytechnic, Ado Ekiti; and Eze Fidelis Nwaonumara, Chairman, Izzi/Nnodo Traditional Rulers Council, among others.
Buhari greets Otunba Oyin Jolayemi at 80
The President, in a congratulatory message released by his spokesman, Mr Femi Adesina, in Abuja on Wednesday, congratulated the elder statesman for ”investments that have transformed the economy of the country, and greatly impacted on the citizenry.”
President Buhari affirmed that Otunba Jolayemi’s entrepreneurial spirit, which spurred investments in banking, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and personal care products, deserved commendation, especially the growing profile of his companies and training of many to start their own businesses.
He acknowledged the visionary role Jolayemi had played as an industrialist for more than 40 years in the financial sector of the country, particularly raising infrastructure that served his businesses and community, and building confidence in the economy through international exhibition of his products.
The President believed the ”industrialist can joyfully look back, with three of his scions already involved in the family business, and be thankful to God for the grace of a good lineage.”
President Buhari joined family, friends and business associates of the philanthropist in celebrating the milestone, praying that the almighty God would grant him longer life and more strength.
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