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EndSARS protest and fake news

By Adeduro Ajasa

The alarming rate at which people use social media for selfish, cruel, and evil purposes these days calls for serious concern so that the world will not be brought down before caution is applied.

Now, the world is bombarded with series of fake news, deliberate lies, concocted stories, and wicked frame-ups almost every minute in the name of TRENDING STORIES especially in social media where credibility and professionalism are not the selling points for bloggers but the NUMBER OF FOLLOWING.

This is pushing these people to do all sorts of things to increase their followers, knowing that many people, because of their love for sensational news, will buy any negative story, especially when it is related to celebrities and people in authority.

The recent destruction of lives and property, looting, and stealing that followed the #ENDSARS protest was aggravated by fake news and deliberate manipulations in the social media where some wicked souls just framed up certain people and led the world to believe lies against them. That was why The Nation newspaper, Television Continental station, Oriental Hotel, and other business concerns rightly or wrongly connected to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu were razed down in the aftermath of the protest.

Attacks on the businesses were because some people, who had some scores (political or otherwise) to settle with the APC national leader, used the opportunity of the uprising to sell lies to the public that the man’s success is as a result of his connection to the government of Lagos State.

In the same breath, a wicked fifth columnist woke up last week and just decided to write damaging stories about Alpha Beta Consulting, a funds management firm based in Lagos, apparently to whip up sentiments against the company so as to invite his team of arsonists (now on the prowl) to visit the company.

To give credibility to the story, the writer gave it the by-line of Prof Bolaji Akinyemi in order for the world to be deceived that it was authored by the former Nigerian ambassador and university don. As expected, many people quickly swayed support in favour of the fake information because of the respect and love they have for the erudite professor who is known for speaking the truth.

The renowned professor has since come out straight to disown the story, thus vindicating the right-thinking people who felt it (the story) was too low and cheap to be authored by this respected professor. Thank God that the man is still alive, he came on air to deny having anything to do with such a false story, he did not author any story on Asiwaju Bola Tinubu or Alpha Beta Consulting.

The big question, after Don’s denial, is what is the motive for writing such a damaging story and why did the writer wickedly chose to use the respected professor’s name to sell it.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a trend in social media now. Someone will just concoct a story and put the name of a credible man or woman behind it to sell the lies and make it appear real for the public.

This is why Nigerians should take a second look at the ‘stop press’ and “breaking news” in social media these days so as not to fall into the trap of helping the wicked people, who seem to be hell-bent to cause confusion and damage our society, in spreading their deliberate lies.

Only God knows how much Nigeria would have been saved from the destruction that accompanied the #ENDSARS protests if the citizens have learnt to apply caution to the way they take news in social media as the gospel truth.

Now the truth has unfolded that many people who were said to have died at the Lekki incident are actually alive. It is not only Eniola Badmus that has told the world that she is not dead, many others too have spoken loudly. Even the lady that deceived the world that 78 people died that ‘Black Tuesday’ has come to deny it the same way that the man who misled the world about the CCTV camera removal at the toll gate that day has come out to apologize, but the damage has been done as Lagos State alone would need a whopping N1 trillion to rebuild.

Now, it is clear that FAKE NEWS is more lethal than live ammunition.

Adeduro Ajasa is a public affairs analyst.

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