Oyo State Government has raised the alarm over a plot by some persons to use fake news on the state of security in the state to precipitate a religious and ethnic crisis.
The state government, through Chief Press Secretary to the state governor, Mr Taiwo Adisa, said the plot being hatched was to promote false alarms, misinformation and sponsored fake news through audio, video and Facebook messages.
The governor’s aide warned against raising false alarms on the security situation in Ibarapa land and parts of Oke-Ogun, adding that security agencies will readily deal with anyone seeking to cause ethnic tension.
Adisa, in a statement made available to newsmen on Sunday, said: “The penchant of certain individuals, groups and faceless bodies to take to social media and raise unfounded alarm just to cause panic among the people of Oyo State is becoming a cause for concern.”
He equally warned purveyors of such fake information to desist before they plunge the state into crises with unforeseeable consequences, stating that the after-effects of the fake videos, false alarms and fake news would be grave.
According to the statement, the ultimate aim of those “elements” is to create panic among the people, incite the people, derail the state government and make the state ungovernable.
Adisa particularly described some viral video and audio messages about a poor security situation in Ayete, Igangan areas of the state as found to be outright falsehood, baseless claims and products of hate speech.
He said that some of such unfounded and baseless posts to include the claim that Amotekun Corps killed some Fulani herdsmen, the claim that 200 houses were razed by hoodlums in Labiran, Ibadan and the claims that the insecurity situation in Ibarapa has escalated.
He added that some unscrupulous elements seeking to cause crisis in Oyo State through false social media audio and video releases, as well as sponsored fake news in a section of the media, are behind the plot.
According to Adisa, those persons behind the plot to create fear among the populace and destabilise the state are intimidated by the level of successes recorded in the one and a half year administration of Governor Seyi Makinde.
Adisa said Governor Makinde had, during his visit to Ibarapa zone, announced several measures to tackle kidnapping and banditry in Ibarapa and some parts of Oke-Ogun, while efforts had also been increased to tame violent gang wars in Ibadan.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a grand plot to precipitate unrest in Oyo State through the use of fake news in the social media. This plot seeks to promote false alarms, misinformation and sponsored fake news through audio, video and Facebook messages and it is with a view to making the state ungovernable.
“As a government, the contents of some of these audio and video releases have been investigated and mostly found to be outright falsehood, baseless claims and products of hate speech, targeted only at discrediting the government and inciting the people.
“As a proactive government, the Makinde-led administration has risen to the occasion on the issue of insecurity and we are already winning the war against criminality, with several measures rolled out to tackle kidnapping and banditry in Ibarapa and some parts of Oke-Ogun, while efforts have also been increased to tame the violent gang wars in Ibadan.”
The statement recalled how Governor Makinde visited Ibarapa, explaining that some gains had already been recorded from the government’s efforts on Ibarapa with community leaders testifying to weeks of respite in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axes.
“The governor equally convened a meeting of all stakeholders in Ibadan North-East to address the issue of hoodlums and gang wars in the state capital once and for all.
“With all these steps, it is clear the direction the Oyo State Government is going in terms of handling the insecurity challenge and the only thing left to be done is to wait and see the results of the interventions.
“However, we have discovered that some individuals driven by inordinate political ambitions have been over-reaching themselves and sponsoring falsehood against the government.
“However, our admonition goes to the members of the public across the state. Do not panic; do not succumb to the sponsored falsehood, as the state government is working assiduously to arrest the insecurity situation.
“Similarly, the governor has made it clear that anyone who sees something should say something to the government, members of the public should ensure they are giving truthful and factual information, so that security agents will not be embarking on a wild goose chase based on wrong information”, the statement concluded.