President Muhammadu Buhari has called on journalists in the country to beware of individuals who are purveyors of fake stories.
He made this call when the leadership and members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists paid him a courtesy visit in his office, urging journalists to avoid being influenced by individuals with divisive motives.
The National President of NUJ Mr. Chris Isiguzo led the group to the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Thursday.
Buhari also urged the members to bring a sustainable end to the menace of fake news.
He said the call had become imperative in view of the fact that innocent lives had been lost or destroyed due to fake news phenomenon.
The President said: “I am sure you will all agree that the biggest threat to the sustainability and credibility of your profession is the uncontrolled and unregulated news platforms operating in the cyber space.
“This is not only in Nigeria, but across the entire globe. Innocent lives have been lost or destroyed due to this fake news phenomenon.
“Many of the perpetrators of these acts do not even live within our shores. However, they have been able to damage the reputation of hard working Nigerian journalists while at the same time promoting conflict and divisions within our society.’’
Buhari, therefore, solicited the cooperation of the NUJ so as to bring a sustainable end to this menace, adding that his administration on its part had engaged the nation’s international friends and allies on this matter.
“But we cannot do it alone. You also have to do your bit.
“As I look to the next four years, I will remain committed to a safe and secure nation; creating an inclusive and diversified economy; and a governance system that is free of corrupt practices.
“In all these areas, we will remain transparent in implementing our policies.
“In return, I seek your support in ensuring that you report the truth. You must not allow yourselves to be influenced by individuals with divisive motives.’’
Earlier, Isiguzo had informed the President that the NUJ officials were in the Villa to congratulate him on his re-election for another four-year term in office.
The NUJ president, who later spoke to State House correspondents on the visit, commended the President for ensuring relative peace and stability in the country.
He, however, challenged him to ensure that the nation’s security architecture was overhauled to be able to effectively tackle the menace of Boko Haram in the northeast as well as the challenges posed by bandits in Zamfara and Katsina states.
“We talked about the security problem that we have, not just in the North-east, but even the banditry in the North-west – in Katsina, Zamfara and Sokoto.
“We raised that issue and of course, we challenged him to ensure that the security architecture is overhauled to be able to effectively tackle these challenges that we have.
“We commended him for the fact that as we speak now, there is no part of the country that is under the control of insurgents which is good, unlike when he came on board.
“But we also told him that it is very important that terrorism is completely stamped out – effectively tackled and not technically degraded,’’ he said.