Nuhu Ribadu, pioneer chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says social media is “partly responsible” for the country’s problems.
According to NAN, Ribadu spoke on Sunday, while reacting to social media reports that he accused government officials of sponsoring banditry in the country.
Speaking at a media briefing in Abuja, the former EFCC chairman said social media promotes fake news, which creates religious and ethnic divisions in the country.
“July 2019 was the first time I came to know about it, and I came out with a very strong denial, saying that it was a fabrication and had no basis,” he said at a media briefing in Abuja.
“It was a piece of rubbish with very bad grammar and factual destruction, but indeed very damaging. I reacted very strongly after that. It didn’t stop and I was forced again to issue a statement denying it.
“I thought that would have been the end of it, but not long afterwards, it started coming back again and I’m worried and concerned.
“I want to again deny in the strongest terms and send a message to everybody to disregard the statements. It is not fair; it is not just. It is very sinful for you to create something from nowhere and attribute it to an innocent person who doesn’t know anything about it. I have nothing to do with that message.
“This is my strongest denial. Everybody should please disregard the statement. It is not from me; it is not true. Social media is, today, partly responsible for what is going on in our country by trying to promote things that are not true and creating division based on religion and ethnicity, among other things.
“They are not being fair to us, and I think the government has a duty and a responsibility to take action; nobody else can do it. As private citizens, we have limited capacity to take action; government has to.”
Ribadu also said social media companies must intensify the fight against fake news.
“Social media companies also have a role to play, I don’t see any reason why Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram will allow such a damaging statement to go out against somebody without stopping it,” he said.
“Even though I had denied it and so many persons in the same situation did, WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter still allowed it to be moving around from one platform to the other.
“I am a believer of freedom of expression; a strong and a firm believer in the ability of people to be free. But at the same time, be responsible. If it is going to cause harm to others, then you lose that freedom.
“I am a victim, and I don’t know why people are doing it. It’s as if I’m a target of something which I don’t know. But I have really suffered because of it; I have a couple of friends and colleagues who also went through the same thing.”