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Religious leaders, politicians caution against spread of misinformation

Vice Chancellor of Kaduna State University, Professor Abdullahi I. Musa, has urged religious leaders and politicians against using digital platforms to spread misinformation, manipulate public…

Vice Chancellor of Kaduna State University, Professor Abdullahi I. Musa, has urged religious leaders and politicians against using digital platforms to spread misinformation, manipulate public opinion, and creating societal divisions among Nigerians.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 44th Annual National Conference of the Nigerian Association for the Study of Religions (NASR) with the theme Religion, Politics, and Digital Economy in the state, he said the call became important because online spaces now provide a platform for religious and political discourse, promoting both inclusivity and polarization.

According to him, religious institutions and political leaders are increasingly utilizing digital platforms to disseminate their messages, mobilize followers, and exert influence and sometimes for their personal interest.

He explained further that the digital economy has democratized access to information, enabling citizens to explore alternative perspectives and challenge established narratives.

He said the conference needs to address questions such as “In what ways can we ensure responsible and ethical use of digital platforms by religious institutions and political leaders to prevent the spread of misinformation and polarization? How can digital literacy programs help citizens critically evaluate information and engage in constructive online dialogue?”

The Vice-Chancellor emphasized that collaboration among stakeholders from the religious, political, and technological spheres is essential to develop frameworks that prevent the misuse of digital platforms while safeguarding freedom of expression, encouraging interfaith dialogues, and urging political leaders to prioritize marginalized communities to foster social cohesion and mitigate the potential for religion to exacerbate political divisions.

Similarly, Reverend Father Dr. George Odafe from the Christian Religious Studies (CRS) Department of Kaduna University urged scholars to use digital platforms to promote peace and the development of the country rather than to spread misinformation and cause divisions among the people.

In his remarks, the National President of NASR, Professor Lateef Kayode Adeyomo, appealed to the international community, especially major stakeholders, to bring an end to the Palestinian-Israel conflict. He said the two-state solution is the best way to end the conflict and ensure the peaceful coexistence of the two nations. He also appealed for the parties involved to embrace dialogue, which he described as the shortest and most effective route to peace.

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