Critical stakeholders have urged all Nigerians to join hand in the war against fake news that have become a dominant feature, especially in the social media space.
They made the call on Thursday in Abuja at the 2021 ICT and Social Media Summit, organised by the National Youth Council of Nigeria (NYCN) with the theme, “ICT: Use of Social Media for National Integration and Development.”
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Sunday Dare said that Nigerian youths need to be re-oriented on the disadvantages of the wrong usage of the social media. Dare represented by the Ministry’s Acting Director, Network and Social Mobilisation, Hajia Amina Dauran, said the social media can make and also destroy national integration, as well as economic development.
He noted that the Federal Government will not shut down the social media space, but insisted that Nigerian youths must use it constructively to promote cohesion and economic growth in the country.
“While the present administration is resolved not to gag the press or the media, the Federal government will continually advocate for constructive use of the social media space to promote cohesion and economic pursuit that could add to National Integration and development.
“The Ministry is seeking for continued engagements with the youth; hence it is reaching out to Nigerian youth online where most of them are active,” the minister said.
Also speaking, the Vice President of NYCN, North Central Zone, Akoshile Mukhtar, said that the leadership will continue to wage war against fake news peddling, but won’t support a total shut down by the government.
Mukhtar also warned the youths to stop fanning the embers of division, using the platform of the social media. “I am against throwing the baby out with the bath water by way of blanket ban or shut down of social media by government, but I also believe that working with government, the office of the citizens can checkmate the raging fire that is fake news,” he said.
On his part, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said Nigeria must leverage on the opportunities provided by a digital economy for national development. He said that Nigeria cannot afford to stay behind a fast-growing technological world, and that a digital economy will provide Nigeria vast opportunities that would not only promote national development and nation building, but also put the nation at the front burner of a digital driven economy.
“Today we have systems that are more intelligent than us, that can do more than what we can do. So, what can we do? Are we to compete with them? Or are we to augment and use them for our own benefits? We talk about social media, which is one of them.
“Today social media is leveraging on our weakest points. social media is driven by algorithm, the algorithm was designed to learn about us, predict what we are going to do and even tell us what to do, that means it is taking advantage of our psychology.
“We need to know how to live with this system. Secondly there are increasingly integrated technology, what we should look at is how to harness these platforms to grow the economy and promote nation building.”He said that youths remain the greatest resources any nation, family, society can have, saying that building capacity of the Nigerian youths, should remain a priority, as a rejected prospective youths is at the detriment of the nation.