Renowned international security expert, Ambassador Abayomi Nurain Mumuni has advised Nigerians home and abroad to desist from spreading fake news, which he said triggered the mass looting, arson and vandalisation of private and public properties aftermath of the recent Lekki toll-gate shooting.
Amb. Mumuni made this disclosure in a press release issued by his media aide, Rasheed Abubakar on Monday, saying it is very important for Nigerians, including the media to always verify information and stories flying around before sharing them with others.
According to him, “Fake news, no doubt, has played a very ignoble role in recent times in heightening the tension in our country. So many untruths have been shared into the media space. We saw how several people who had been proclaimed murdered by soldiers in what was initially falsely described as ‘Lekki Massacre’ or ‘Genocide’ rose up to debunk such claims. That well-planned misinformation strategy instigated many persons into destroying public and even private properties.
“I therefore urge our people to always verify reports and stories; get the facts and figures of the matter. We should not fall for such cheap, evil agenda and also resist being used as agents of spreading falsehood in the society. It is a period of tension. We should not further heat up the polity with unfounded/fake news items and malicious content,” he said.
Speaking on the issue of the invasion of public facilities housing COVID-19 palliatives in Lagos and some other States across the country, the one-time Lagos State gubernatorial candidate of the defunct CPC said there was no justification for such a lawless action by greedy residents.
Mumuni noted that the looting of the relief packages would deny the target population who are the most disadvantaged and the poorest of the poor, the benefit of accessing them.
He also alluded to the role misinformation played in inciting the people to such condemnable act, noting that some persons out of mischief accused the government of hoarding the COVID-19 palliatives for ulterior motives.
Explaining, Mumuni said the allegations are not entirely true because available evidence shows that the Lagos government, which is his constituency, just received the palliatives last month (September) from Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) Team and distribution which had already kicked off was stalled by the ongoing #EndSARS protests.
He said the Social Media platforms have become the biggest outlet for cowards, where people hide to vent their mischief and lies, instead of coming out openly to express their genuine grievances.
The renowned security expert reiterated his appeal to people to always seek to know the facts of the matter before any spontaneous reaction, cautioning that such daring looting, stealing and vandalisation of public facilities portend a dangerous threat to public security.
The author of two fast selling books on terrorism and global security also commiserated with private business owners affected by the looting spree that took place in some parts of the country.
He cautioned against the mass looting which he called “in-house terrorism”, saying it’s capable of birthing anarchy and economic crisis in the country. “I want to plead with the government, both federal and state, to come to the aid of these entrepreneurs whose businesses were ransacked, so that they can get back on their feet because mass unemployment looms. The government should also take appropriate steps to prevent future occurrence.
“The security agencies should gather relevant intelligence and be on the trail of these looters so as to create a deterrent for others. None of them should go scot-free without paying heavily for it.
“On the other hand, the government should widen the scope of its various Social Investment Programmes to accommodate more beneficiaries with huge impacts. This way, no one would present hunger as a rationale for callous looting of other people’s materials.”
As the Aare Jagunmade of Lagos, he condemned, in strong terms, the breach of the revered Palace of His Royal Majesty, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Riliwan Akiolu, describing it as sacrilegious and alien to traditional practices.
Mumuni issued a stern warning to those who carted away the staff of the royal father and urged the perpetrators to return it in no distant time to avoid a disgraceful ending, while urging parents to warn their wards not to partake in such abominable act that is capable of wreaking havoc on the perpetrators.
The grassroots politician also advised President Muhammadu Buhari to always promptly make himself available to the citizens when the need arises, saying, addressing his subjects would go a long way in calming frayed nerves and giving assurances during challenging times like this.
He, meanwhile, commended the President for his swift accession to the five-point demands raised by the youths and his pledge for a comprehensive police reform.