Nigeria: Fake News Deadlier Than Covid-19, Says Lagos Information Commissioner

30 July 2021

Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Gbenga Omotoso, has said that fake news, especially on the social media, is deadlier than the COVID-19 pandemic.

The commissioner stated this in his welcome address at the three-day 2021 annual retreat for public affairs officers in the state civil service.

He implored all stakeholders in information management to join in the fight against fake news, saying that the aftermath of the menace is ravaging the world like the COVID pandemic.

Omotoso maintained that the moment officers, as custodians of government news dissemination should take charge and move with trends, adding that after then, the issue of prevalent fake news would be a thing of the past.

"I can tell you that no disease is afflicting the world more than the issue of fake news and this is the time all practitioners should rise up and phase it out. I know that if our information officers should start moving with trends, it would be of great advantage".

Stating that the theme of the retreat, "Managing Information through the new media in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous and Disruptive(VUCAD) World", has a lot of relevance in the world today, the commissioner congratulated the organisers as well as the participants of the retreat.

According to him, this year's edition is the second ever to be organised by Lagos State Government for its entire public affairs management team.

He stressed that the place of information dissemination and management cannot be overemphasised in the life of any human organisation, adding that it is hard to imagine an organisation, home, community and society where communication is non-existent.

He noted that the realisation of the essence of communication in governance has always made the Sanwo-Olu administration provide support for every cause to reposition the Ministry of Information and Strategy as well as its affiliated agencies.

"Without an effective information management mechanism, our plan to attain a Greater Lagos might be in jeopardy, hence, we shall continue to invest in the advancement of all our information organs. I urge all the State's information agencies to evolve a process of building public confidence in the administration's policies and programmes," Omotoso said.

"All information managers in this administration of Babajide Sanwo-Olu should try to be up and doing. They have done well and can still do better. Communication is fast changing. What you knew yesterday is not relevant today. It's time to build capacity for us to be able to deliver to the admiration of Lagosians.

" The resources that government recently invested into getting our PAOs inducted into NIPR reflect the thinking and importance attached to professionalism. It is the desire of this administration that all PAOs are proficient and competent ", Omotoso said .

In his keynote address at the event , the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Cabinet Office, Mrs. Tolani Oshodi, appreciated the ministry for convening a retreat packed with programmes that will improve the skills and output of its team, just as he reflected that information management and dissemination has moved a notch higher than what was the norm.

Muri-Okunola, therefore, urged participants to take full advantage of the opportunity provided by the forum to improve their knowledge, skills and competencies as information management professionals, while making meaningful and impactful contributions towards achieving the set objectives of the exercise.

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