Nigerian Navy and the Fight Against Fake News
In January 2022, the Nigerian Navy (NN)
urged the public to disregard fake news on a purported killing of naval officers by Black Marine, a seperatist group suspected to be the militant wing of the Biafra Nations League, at Oron Beach, in Akwa Ibom State.
Similarly, the service in August, 2022 refuted reports of piracy attacks in Nigerian waters from one NNS GONGOLA who claimed and initially resisted arrest of its vessel, Motor Tanker (MT) Heroic Idun.
Several reports have identified the brain mechanisms that make people buy into online hoaxes, perhaps as a result of inadequate information to prevent misinformation. But, in the internet age, with the dominance of social media, they can spread on a massive scale. It’s quite a concern for every Nigerians on fake news, a recent prevalent phenomenon in our clime.
Fake news in the form of misinformation or disinformation when released to the media space for public consumption can be dangerous to both society and military institutions owing to its ripple effects. Because, it may end up inciting violence and lawlessness in the community.
Now that Nigeria is facing increasing threat of insecurity, on land, sea and air, the safety of our maritime space can never be downplayed and it is of great concerned to everyone.
In spite of tremendous work of NN under leadership of Vice Admiral Awwal Zubairu Gambo, who has recorded amazing feats in tackling oil vandals, sea pirates and other economic saboteurs, tackling fake news and misinformation about the maritime servicemen is another task that the service wants to accomplish.
The primary duty of NN is to protect the nation’s maritime space against all forms of criminalities including Illegal Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUUF), pipelines vandalism, human and drug trafficking among others.
Concern about growing misinformation and fake news on service and the military in general, Nigerian navy embarked on media tours in order to seek collaboration in surmounting the challenge.
The naval spokesperson, Commodore Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, recently led staff of the Naval Information Directorate on a familiarization visit to PRNigeria office in Abuja.
PRNigeria an award-winning Fact-checking and PR firm is on the forefront in countering fake news and misinformation, especially during and after EndSARS protests in Nigeria.
During the engagement, Ayo-Vaughan expressed delight over PRNigeria‘s ‘dispassionate reportage’ on the Nigerian military and the security sector, in extension.
He said: “your firm has carved a niche for itself in terms of factual and credible news on security matters, and the Nigerian military in particular.
“PRNigeria is a reputable platform that one can rely on to get authoritative information and analyses on the country’s security sector. However, there is a need to nurture the existing relationship between our service and PRNigeria which is imperative in tackling fake news and misinformation about the Navy and the Nigerian military in general.”
In his part, Mal. Yushau Shuaib, the Chairman, Image Merchants Promotion (IMPR) Limited and Publisher of PRNigeria and Economic Confidential, thanked the Naval spokesperson and his entourage for the courtesy call.
Mr. Shuaib commended the visionary leadership of Admiral Gambo as the Chief of Naval Staff, by embarking on developmental projects such as infrastructural upgrade of military barracks, schools and other Naval facilities, across the country, since he came on board.
He said: “The Navy, under Gambo, has also been providing sophisticated warfare equipment and Naval ships to boost Nigeria’s maritime security.
“We are glad to also know that Vice Admiral Gambo has also visited some European and world nations to sign agreements on military support and cooperation for the Nigerian Navy.
Meanwhile, during the engagement, Major General Chris Olukolade (rtd), a former Director of Defence Information, DDI, expressed belief that the collaboration between the Nigerian Navy and PRNigeria is one that will be mutually-beneficial to both organisations.
“It is important to acknowledge the achievements of the CNS, for this silent achievements and the bold effort in cementing relations with the IMPR for its strategic communication,” Gen Olukolade said.
By Kabir Abdulsalam
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