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The Department of State Services (DSS) has revealed the major threats to the country’s unity ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Speaking during a media briefing on Wednesday in Abuja, DSS spokesperson, Peter Afunanya said the spread of fake news and hate speeches on social media poses the biggest challenges to the upcoming polls.
Afunanya noted that fake news along with incorrect and inflammatory commentary has the potential to destroy Nigeria’s unity and cause both ethnic and religious crises across the country.
He urged Nigerians to avoid any act that promotes hate and disintegration and say no to various separatist movements, terrorism, fake news, hate speech, religious bigotry and any act that tends to divide the nation.
The DSS spokesman urged media practitioners to shun fake news in order to promote unity and peaceful co-existence in the country and fact check information before publishing.
He, therefore, warned against misinformation and unguarded statements that could derail efforts to deepen Nigeria’s democracy.
He said: “We are into elections and political programmes have started. What the media and every stakeholder must do is ensure that the game is played according to rules. Nigerians must avoid any act that promotes hate and disintegration and say no to separatist movement, terrorism, fake news, hate speech, religious bigotry and any act that tends to divide us as a nation.
“Social media and fake news are biggest threat to human existence not only to elections. Fake news is a major cause of violence in our society now. As journalists, you should always fact check information before publishing.
“We must understand that Nigeria is the only country we have and every one must put hands on deck to ensure that there is peace. The media should be up and doing in ensuring the peace is restored in the country.
“Slanting news to achieve ulterior motives should be avoided and I want to assure that the DSS won’t abdicate its responsibilities and would continue to do the right thing no matter whose ox is gored.”