The former INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, has called on the federal government to proffer stiffer laws against declaration of fake election results.
Mr Jega made the decision on Wednesday in Abuja at an international conference with “Democracy and Disinformation: How Fake News Threatens our Freedom and Democracy in Nigeria’’ as theme.
Attahiru Jega said the issue of fake election results had become a threat to Nigeria’s democracy and should be immediately curbed.
Jega mentioned, “The declaration of results and pretend news on the social media is being carried out with impunity in our nation.
“We have to review some of the laws to make stiffer rules for implementation to curb this act.’’
Mr. Jega added that with the 2019 general elections around the corner, there was need to act quick to curtail the unfold of fake information.
On his part, Chairman of INEC, Mahmood Yakubu, mentioned that the commission was battling with the issue of fake news.
Represented by Okechukwu Ibeanu, a National Commissioner in the commission, Mr Yakubu mentioned INEC engaged in voter education to sensitize the voters to its operations.
On the attitude of some political parties towards the commission, he mentioned “it’s humorous how political parties fluctuate in praising INEC; most instances, it depends of how they win.
“If parties win elections, they are going to praise INEC claiming it conducted the best election ever.
“It’ll amaze you to know that the same political party that praised INEC in 2015 because it won is the same party condemning it now.’’
He promised that INEC would hold embarking on rigorous voters sensitization to allow them know their rights and defend them from hazards of fake information.
Additionally, the Chairperson, Transition Monitoring Group (TMG), Abiola Akiyode, called on mainstream media to set agenda for checking the scourge of fake news.
She mentioned as quickly as info put out “is not factual, the media must be able to retract and make people to believe in your medium’’.
The conference was organised by CDD with help from Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and MacArthur Foundation, ahead of 2019 elections.
The Director Center for Democracy and Growth (CDD), Idayat Hassan, also mentioned as Nigeria’s 2019 general elections were quick approaching, it was essential to forestall the circulation of fake news.
“There’s a tendency that political actors might take advantage of these gaps either to misinform, dis-inform, promote apathy or skew voting choices for the forthcoming elections’’