The upshot is that false news is a growing trend and is likely here to stay. Just as the social media, it will only evolve in more diverse ways. – The author

Our intertwined world is encountering a vastly changed narrative of news flow, reportage and cause-advocacy via media.

The change is linked to growing universal rage — the so-called “age of anger”, and a sense of audacity, which drives anti-establishment sentiments and protestations.

Yet two realities are incontrovertible: fake or false news, hate speech and post truth via social media are spiraling globally, as the mainstream media is battling a crisis of legitimacy.

But just as the social media accentuates mass communication, it has thrown up an unnerving flip side –false news and post truth- which makes social media an adverse game changer.

Those who contend that social media offer a level playing field, overlook the pitfalls.

The scariest part of false news is the absence of an undo button. Evidence exist that false news has for some nations, become a tool of statecraft.

Russia meddling with recent U.S. elections is a case in point. Globally, the social order is being changed.

Alternative or rogue governments are being elected, due to the impact of false news.

Also, false news is now abetting recrudescence of rightwing extremism in Europe. The global tsunami of disinformation is replete with hybrid threats fostered by hoaxes.

Yet, the most insidious generators of false news, is the lone perpetrator, sequestered by choice in a room or café with an iPhone or tablet and access to Wi-Fi, who feels the awesome power afforded by anonymity and driven by indignation or righteousness to redress perceived societal ills.

The desire to shape opinion by legerdemain and revenge are also compelling factors.

Indubitably, false news is now the electrified third rail in global politics, Nigerian politics included.

With its vast reach, false news retains huge capacity for destructive consequences. Worryingly, there is no agreed antidote.

Recently, the Czech Republic set up a specialized anti-fake news unit to combat Russian fake news inundation.

In Africa, the response has been slow, notwithstanding that within one month, the news of the demise of Gambia’s president-elect Adama Barrow and of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari were published and gained currency, until refuted.

Less perturbing but equally fabricated news included, Eritrea polygamy report; Tanzania’s president ban on miniskirts; and Nigerian lawmakers making 11 years the age of sexual consent?

All these are examples of the dreadful phenomena we confront daily. There is real and false news.

Until recently, false news was rare and benign, except for some non-injurious clichés; “bad news is good news” and “no news is good news”.

Not anymore. False news is bad news and therefore trouble.

While rhetoric remains the bedrock of political obfuscation, false news stretches rhetoric beyond the acceptable.

Moreover, false news is primarily fueled by politics and peaks during electoral periods. Hence, the 2016 U.S. elections added credence and impetus to false news.

Why the sudden groundswell of false news?

The social media is false news breeding ground. All that’s required is just a click of the “share” icon.

Besides the anonymity provided by social media, the convenience of instantly tweeting or retweeting a news item, without confirming the veracity, underpins the spread of false news, but not the reasons for fabricating untruth.

Interestingly, the attentive public has unwittingly become part of the problem.

The natural instinct to question the authenticity of a news report, has been dulled by the euphoria of being among the first to share a scoop, be it on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or WhatsApp.

What is overlooked is false news potentials as a tripwire for mob action or restiveness and possible national security implications.

False news traits include sensational and captivating headlines; oftentimes without a direct quote from the subject of the story.

False news goes beyond stretching the truth, often in malicious and troubling ways.

Hence, false news is not just capable of upturning nations’ social balance, but capable of fostering and foisting violent extremism.

False news abets political exigencies, more so where State controlled broadcast media outlets and on air personalities resort to spewing of verbiage during unmodulated call-in programmes.

There exist an inextricable nexus between false news and hate speech. Both aim to hurt.

This explains why ahead of the 2019 elections, the Abuja-based Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development (SCDDD) constituted the Democracy Stability and Media Accountability Project (DESMAP) Council.

The Council is “to address the administrative and legal gaps that exist in the extant body of laws and code of ethics on journalism and media practice, especially as they relate to the propagation of dangerous, false news and hate speeches.”

Nigeria is facing its share of false news, but despite the broad awareness of the negative impact of false news, the Federal Government is yet to contextualize fully the alarming challenges posed by false news and hate speech, and thus has not risen fully to the task.

By Oseloka Obaze & Chiagozie Udeh



Pardon me for kick-starting this missive with this peculiarly Nigerian locution: How far?

The enquiry contains more than a hint of jocosity, to be sure, but there is nothing jocose about it insofar as it relates to the state of the nation, the Nigerian condition, of which you are a perceptive observer and incisive analyst.

I say nothing of course of your coruscating erudition and wit, in contradistinction to those hacks who, in desperate yearning for anything emblematic of distinction, however fleeting and fragmentary, however tenuous, are forever advertising themselves as “Abuja-based public affairs commentators.”

The truth of the matter, the indissoluble actuality as you personally experienced it during your memorable and eventful sojourn in the House of the People in that city, with its asphyxiating sterility is that they are for the most part unemployed and unattached freeloaders, if not unreconstructed scroungers outright. Even in your present disposition, you have encountered a surfeit of them, I am sure.

It is deeply to be lamented that the aforementioned disposition has incommoded you in no small measure, rendering you not just invisible but also inaudible. I still find it incomprehensible, inexplicable even, that a person of your vivaciousness, spontaneity and sensibilities can feel obliged to observe so much restraint in face of the daily occurrences that provoke nothing short of atrabilious rage even when each is considered as a singularity.

Taken cumulatively, as a totality, the occurrences are nothing if not benumbing. Your resolute and unflappable equanimity in the face of all this is eminently to be lauded.

Unlike many of our compatriots of easy gullibility, I do not suppose for a nanosecond, however, that this apparent equanimity stems from fecklessness; I know you too much to entertain such a misimpression. I know it has been forced upon you by the rules of engagement under which you currently operate.

When you were not thus shackled, your voice resonated with unmatched clarity and eloquence rendered all the more arresting by your consummate mastery of cadenced, sesquipedalian oration delivered right off the cuff – unlike some of your colleagues who could not make the most prosaic statement off script and are consequently not remembered for anything except their propensity for self-aggrandisement of the most ravenous kind, by which I mean, gorging themselves remorselessly on the national patrimony.

It cannot have been easy for a person of your public spiritedness and unswerving commitment to what is noble and just and of good report to live through an almost endless march of events of the most stultifying kind and yet refrain from giving utterance to disapproval and disapprobation even in the most subdued of tones, sotto voce, so to speak.

And the events, in all their discombobulation, in all their furious gallop, are legion. Where to start, then? Where to delineate as a point of departure in this excursus?

Is it the Senate Rules of Order, as amended, which threw up a leadership that has been embroiled in a crisis of authority and legitimacy and credibility and integrity since that body launched its current session more than a year ago? Or the perjury trial, the carnivalesque optics of which may appear to a first-time visitor to these parts as a coronation, replete with fawning adulation and saccharine glorification?

Or Budget 2016 that has performed enough disappearing and re-appearing acts to turn the Cheshire cat into a rank amateur in the business, a mewling infant? Or again Budget 2016 that was padded with layers upon layers of pork when a version which seemed closest to being authentic was eventually found?

Or should I commence with the crash of the oil market and its deleterious consequences for everything: the Exchequer and the economy, not forgetting the Naira which has since become like an orphan abandoned, and the attendant disequilibrium and disarticulation in transactions of every kind and even social intercourse?

I will enter no comment on the vexed and perennial subject of fuel subsidy, whether real or contrived. I recall your spirited and illumining intervention the last time it was the focal point, the core issue of perfervid national discourse, and how it compelled abandonment of the perilous trajectory on which the authorities were determined to embark, and a near-complete reversion to the status quo ante, consonant with vociferous public demand.

The price of that precious combustible has since escalated, with nary a public rally by the usual sworn opponents. But where in the time of regulation there was a drought there is now in the time of de-regulation a cascading torrent, a glut. Still, despite the superabundant revenue accruing to Abuja following deregulation, there have been dark intimations, registering just above whispering level, of some stubborn residual subsidy requiring radical excision.

Save your heaviest ordnance for that conjuncture, Aburo. It is not quite over yet.

Something tells me, Aburo, you are fully primed for the looming battle for the succession on the home turf. Having worked in close juxtaposition with the Comrade Governor – no, I under- state it horribly and crave your indulgence to take it back – having served him as trusted adviser, sounding board, confidant, having taken charge of organising his schedule and his work flow, you doubtless apprehend more than anyone else the factors that have conduced to his phenomenal success.

Do you espy any of those traits or factors in any of the contenders? It is again deeply to be regretted that even if you do, you cannot so proclaim under current rules of engagement. Such, alas, is the perversity of bureaucracy.

But you are nothing if not creative, my dear Aburo. I am sure you will fabricate, with your accustomed ingenuousness a design that will help beam on the battle for the succession your unrivalled knowledge of the Comrade Governor, his vision, his work habits, his temperament, his proclivities and all those factors that shaped the great legacy he is bequeathing to the grateful people of Edo State and indeed to posterity.

Someone who claims to be privy to recondite secrets tells me that reports to the effect that the Grand Fixer has been neutered, rendered hors de combat, are vastly exaggerated, and that he is lurking patiently in the shadows, waiting to charge into battle at the sound of the bell.

Is there any veracity to the report, even a scintilla of verisimilitude? I ask mostly of our curiosity, not from diffidence. I know that with you and the other stalwarts in his corner, the Comrade Governor can contain a dozen grand fixers.

That would be all for now, my dear Aburo. Something tells me we will hear from or of you soon, over the chants of victory and the promise of continuity.

Until then, I remain your Egbon and kindred soul.

Olatunji Dare



N-Delta Avengers is non-existent says Ayiri Itsekiri leader and activist, Chief Ayiri Emami

While he condemned the attacks by the so-called Niger-Delta Avengers, which he said does not exist, he said: “The attacks are just to create a platform for negotiation with President Muhammadu Buhari.” He asserted, “I know that Mr. President is intelligent enough not to fall for just gimmick. Some of us volunteered to cooperate with the security agencies free of charge to fish out the perpetrators of these bombings, but the Delta state government did not see reason with us. They held a state security meeting asking why security agencies are working with us.” “I want to say that it is the duty of the state government to fish out the perpetrators, people cannot be here in Delta state and say that they do not know those responsible. They know the person directing his boys to do and should bring them out.

“They should not be saying that it is the All Progressives Congress, APC, people in the state that is causing it, it has nothing to do with APC,” he added.

Stop jeopardizing Gbaramatu indigenes -Chief Michael, Ijaw leader

Chief Michael Johnny, who spoke in a similar vein, asserted: “There is nothing strange or new in what is happening. It is what we are already used to, but my worry is that these people should stop endangering the life of Gbaramatu people.”

“The people causing this havoc are known, the security agencies should not compromise, they should have good intelligence information to identify them and bring them to book. I also want to say that they should stop calling the name of APC in this matter, APC is a progressive party, anybody who wants to join the party should do so, but they should stop blackmailing us,” he said.

He said that many Gbaramatu leaders know those carrying out the bombings, but because of fear, they would not be able to speak out and urged the security agencies to do their work. Also reacting to the attacks, the Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade, FHRACC, said: “The ongoing oil war being perpetrated by some groups in the creeks of Niger Delta is not the best option for the region.”


1.Tompolo can only fool himself, he should face his corruption case and stop trying to act a failed script. The scAvengers are just the most foolish set of agitators that I have ever seen. The only thing they have actually succeeded in achieving by their destruction is polluting their devastated land further, and making it even more unattractive to foreign oil companies and other investors. Tompolo should face the courts while the scAvengers should get ready to face Buratai.

2. How can a group of people hold a whole country to ransom? The greediness of these people knows no bounds.

3.You see why I say this people (Avengers abi na wetin) de very stoopid . They are blowing Oil installations and polluting their environment, because Tompolo refuses to apologize publicly, who de supply dem weed sef?

4.Begging the militants is a wrong approach…the president shouldn’t negotiate with terrorists.
He should rather bomb them all.

5.This group want to cripple the economy. Their threat should not be overlooked rather the govt should do something urgently to curb their further devastating hits.

6.This Tompolo must really take Nigerian for idiots.Furthermore, he must take Buhari for a really big fool. In short, Buhari should now approach to help stop the Avengers from wrecking more havoc apart from being a militant, this man must also be a part-time comedian

7.It seems Tompolo is carrying on a dialogue on the pages of the newspapers with himself. Funny isnt it?…BY KROPOTKIN11

8.Yes.Na the same Tompolo dey bomb the pipeline, but he is playing the good man in his hiding spot. He is a bloody rat.

9.Tompolo the coward should continue to fool himself….there is no difference between both….everything else na camouflage…what a shameless local coward.

10.In fact, I’ve never seen this kind of nonsense before. Do think people are fools? sebi na militant he call himself. If he wants to fight government, let him fight. This schizophrenia approach, na im I no understand at all.

11.Tompolo is acting Nollywood movie for us. So because of one man’s apology, they blew up facilities that affect the whole nation? Abeg wetin “concine” Tompolo with chevron or gas? Tompolo is behind these faceless scavengers or whatever they call themselves.

12.Keep fooling yourselves.