Nigeria seeks UNESCO support to combat hate speech

Solomon Chung, Abuja

Nigeria's Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

Nigeria has appealed to the United Nations Scientific, Education and Cultural organization (UNESCO) to assist the country in the area of capacity building to curb the menace of fake news and hate speech.

The Country’s Information and Culture Minister Mr. Lai Mohammed made the appeall on Tuesday in Abuja when the UNESCO delegation headed by the Nigerian permanent representative, Mrs Maryam Katagum paid him a courtesy visit in Abuja.

Mr. Mohammed said considering the rapid change from traditional media to social media especially as a most reliable source of information by the youth, there was the need to focus on massive engagement and capacity building in the social media platform.

“Over the years, UNESCO has played significant roles in the information sector, especially in capacity building and getting our voice heard on global platforms.

Things have, however, changed significantly as people no longer depend on print, TV, radio to form opinion with the advent of the social media.

With telephone, everyone has become a journalist, opinion molder and information disseminator.

The outcome is fake news and misinformation and the government is more on the receiving end. We, therefore, appeal to UNESCO to review its mode of operation and assist in addressing the issue of fake news through the social media,’’ Mr Mohammed said.”

The minister solicited UNESCO’s assistance in developing contents and building capacity of the young ones.

Meanwhile, leader of the delegation, who is also the Nigerian Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Mrs Maryam Katagum said the UNESCO team was in Abuja basically to host the international conference for safeguarding the Lake Chad but decided to use the period to have some crucial engagements with the Ministry of Information and Culture.

According to Katagum, UNESCO’s Technical Mission will be in the country in March for the execution of various UNESCO projects.

“The technical mission will look into the priority areas of different ministries and agencies of government as related to UNESCO programs.”

She said the Technical mission will focus on the objectives of such projects, the budgets among others to see if they are properly placed or captured.


Aisha JM