Nigeria’s Department of State Services (DSS), also known as State Security Service (SSS), has said that some groups are plotting to undermine the country’s peace and unity, Concise News reports.
Spokesman for the secret police, Peter Afunaya, noted on Monday that the plotters were using fake news to exploit political differences and other events within and outside Africa’s most populous country.
Though he did not mention a specific group, the DSS official alleged that the planners were also trying to initiate narratives to deepen their “subversive objectives so as to achieve preferred illegal outcomes.”
Afunaya’s comments followed the circulation of an old video of Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, appearing to be asking Nigerians to forgive President Muhammadu Buhari for not allegedly submitting a West African senior school certificate to INEC.
Concise News understands that the minister came under severe attack last Friday after the emergence of the video of his appearance on Channels Television in January 2015. The video was circulated to seem like it was a recent one.
Similarly, amid the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa, there were images and videos of an office belonging to MTN – a telecoms firm with South African root – on fire in Apapa, Lagos.
However, checks by Concise News revealed that the photos and videos of the said incident were old and posted on a popular forum Nairaland.
Further findings revealed that the photos were that of a fire incident at an MTN office in Ilorin, Kwara state, in north-central Nigeria.
The incident took place on Sunday, March 15th, 2015, and thus not an MTN office in Apapa, Lagos, as widely circulated on social media.
“The aim is to set the country on fire as well as inflame passions across ethnic and religious divides with expected violent consequences,” the DSS spokesman said.
“The service expresses dismay over the increasing use of fake news and unsubstantiated information spread across social media platforms to deceive and incite sections of the populace to civil unrest.”
Condemning the “unpatriotic and misguided activities of these anti-social elements,” the image-maker warned those behind the purported clandestine moves to “desist forthwith from their unholy acts as the full weight of the law will be brought against them.”
“In the same vein, citizens are enjoined to remain law-abiding, peaceful and report any suspicion likely to inhibit public safety to appropriate authorities,” he added.
“On its part, the service will remain committed to its pursuit of national stability in line with its statutory mandate of protecting the country against crimes and threats to internal security.”
Lai Mohammed reacts
In a statement issued last Saturday, the minister said the 2015 video was doctored to make it seem like he was begging Nigerians to forgive President Buhari.
”A pattern is emerging of the antics of the desperate opposition to latch on to the use of fake news and disinformation as a strategy to trigger chaos in the country,” he said.
“On Friday (6 Sept 2019), they doctored and circulated the video of my appearance on Channels Television in January 2015 (when I was the spokesman of the APC) to make it look like I was begging Nigerians to forgive President Buhari for not having a school certificate.
“Worse still, they posted the video afresh, giving the impression it happened last Thursday and that I acted in my capacity as Minister of Information and Culture.”