Nigeria warns organizations of terrorists plot using misinformation, propaganda for recruitment


ABUJA – The National Security Adviser (NSA), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, has issued a stark warning to media organizations in Nigeria regarding terrorist plots to expand their recruitment efforts through misinformation and propaganda. His alert coincided with remarks from the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, who likened misinformation to terrorism in terms of its damaging impact.

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The NSA and the Minister of Information made these statements at the inauguration of a two-day workshop titled “Effective Reporting Towards Strengthening Alternatives to Terrorist Ideology” held in Abuja yesterday. Major-General Adamu Laka, representing the NSA at the event, emphasized the critical role of the media in combatting the spread of terrorist ideologies.

“This is a critical situation that demands our collective action to achieve a safe and peaceful society conducive to sustainable socioeconomic development,” Major-General Laka stated. “Information holds immense power, and how we process and communicate it can either serve positive purposes or lead to negative and life-threatening consequences.”

He highlighted the media’s pivotal role as a conduit of information that can sway public opinion either positively or negatively. He stressed the need for media practitioners to be vigilant and responsible in their reporting, particularly in exposing societal threats and garnering support for government efforts to address challenges.

The workshop, part of Nigeria’s response to the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action, aims to develop and implement a national communication strategy. This strategy seeks to disseminate positive content across various media platforms, traditional and digital alike, to counteract terrorist propaganda and narratives of violent extremism.

Minister Mohammed Idris underscored the influential power of the media in shaping public perception and promoting peace. He highlighted the dangers posed by misinformation and fake news, equating them with terrorism due to their potential to undermine societal stability.

“In our fight against terrorism, the media can either weaken or strengthen our collective resolve to provide alternatives to extremist ideologies,” Minister Idris affirmed. “Through responsible reporting, the media can educate, inform, and foster resilience among the public.”

He urged media practitioners, especially defence correspondents and reporters, to collaborate closely with security experts, sociologists, psychologists, and community leaders. This collaboration aims to provide comprehensive perspectives on terrorism and effective alternatives to radicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration initiatives.

“To counter extremist narratives effectively, we must showcase successful government programs and initiatives that promote peacebuilding and community resilience,” Minister Idris concluded. “The media’s role in this effort cannot be overstated, as it is integral to shaping a cohesive and secure society.”

The workshop concluded with a commitment from stakeholders to intensify efforts in countering terrorism and ensuring that media content contributes positively to national security and social cohesion.

Peter Okafor
Peter Okafor
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