The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, at the weekend, blamed increasing cases of electoral violence on fake news and said the menace posed grave danger to democratic process and military operations.
Buratai spoke in Bayelsa State when he led military commanders, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to inaugurate projects at the newly-established barracks of the 16th Division of the Nigerian Army named Camp Buratai.
He said prior to the general elections, he launched the Operation Safe Conduct to ensure success of the poll and established the Nigerian Army Situation Room (NASR) to manage electoral events including countering spread of fake news.
Buratai, who was represented by Maj.-Gen. Adamu Saliu, the Commander, Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), noted terrorists and subversive elements were deliberately spreading fake news using the social media to influence public sentiment, cause confusion and ignite violence.
The COAS said: “Use of media especially social media to deliberately spread fake news should be a thing of concern to all of us.
“Rapid spread of fake news has been responsible for misinformation, thereby having an influence on public sentiment and sowing confusion among the electorate and easily ignite violence during elections as we have now.
“The purpose of the situation room is among others to monitor electioneering process through the cyber warfare command of the Nigerian Army which also identifies and counters various forms of fake news and propaganda put out by terrorist and subversive elements. In this period of elections, we are collaborating with all stakeholders to confront the menace of fake news”.
Buratai insisted nothing would stop the army from playing its roles in combating security challenges in the country in line with its constitutional mandates.
He said the army deserved the support of all Nigerians following its efforts to keep the country together adding that security agencies required timely information from the public to enable them deliver on their mandates.
Buratai commended the Commander of the 16th Brigade, Brigadier-General, Kelvin Aligbe, officers and men of the outfit for their efforts to develop the new military community.