A group of supporters of prominent Nigerian cleric TB Joshua have released a statement decrying the amount of ‘fake news’ pedalled about the Nigerian cleric on social media.
“The decision of the Federal Government of Nigeria to sanitise the social media space is a welcome idea as the issue of fake news and hate speech is totally out of control,” read the statement, adding that Joshua has been the subject of several maliciously motivated ‘fake news’ campaigns.
“We know TB Joshua would not agree with this decision,” the group admitted, alluding to the cleric’s longstanding policy to stay silent in the face of accusation and attack.
“But we have decided to take it upon ourselves to collaborate with the government and deal decisively with those mediums being used to spread false news and hate speech against a man who has been a blessing to nations of the world,” the statement continued.
An example of this played out recently when multiple online news sites in Nigeria reported the story of a female singer who allegedly accused TB Joshua of rape.
Shortly afterwards, the lady at the centre of the incident – Vicki Royce – insisted she was not referring to Joshua but a ‘celestial prophet’ who defiled her, although the initial article wrongly implicating The SCOAN Founder had already gone viral.
The statement comes on the heels of Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Information Minister, vowing a renewed crack down on peddlers of fake news.
“If you engage in disseminating fake news or hate speech, you need to be worried, because we will not spare you,” Mohammed said in a press briefing in Abuja on Wednesday 29thOctober 2019.
“We cannot allow fake news and hate speech to become free speech, because these Siamese Twins of evil are capable of inflicting untold damage on our democracy and threatening our national unity,” he concluded.
Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist…