On national security, fake news

The imperative of adequate security in the country as well as the dangers of fake news, have, again, been brought to the fore. Speaking on the issues, some security experts have called for dialogue between the federal government and secessionist groups in the country to find a lasting solution to the problem of insecurity. They gave this piece of advice while featuring on the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun state radio station, FUNAAB Radio 89.5FM live interactive programme, Boiling Point. A retired police officer, Mr. Babatunde Alli, said the federal government needed to drop its ego and reach out to those groups, saying there should be dialogue to provide an opportunity to listen to problems and find a solution, saying the government was doing its best by putting proper mechanisms in place to checkmate the menace.

“The government has a lot of mechanisms on ground, yet this problem still continues. They should drop their ego and reach out to all these groups to know what their problems are”. Meanwhile, the Assistant State Secretary, Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Comrade Sanmi Ogundele, described security as everybody’s business, adding that the government’s response to the challenge had not been enough. He said PCRC aims to partner the police to reduce crime and criminality. He added that they also converge for seminars and conferences to teach and enlighten members on how to operate and gather needed information to assist the police. “In Ogun state, there are vibrant officers. There are some black spots in the state that have been wiped off, but there are some areas where the government also needs to come in”, Ogundele stated.

In a similar vein, the Area Commander, Adatan Police Command of Ogun state, ACP Uduak Ita, has stressed the need for the people to embrace the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism and the restorative justice system in handling conflicts. The police boss stated this during a recent courtesy visit that she paid to Vice-Chancellor of FUNAAB, Prof. Kolawole Salako. Speaking from personal experience, Ita maintained that ADR can help in settling issues without going to the courts. She counseled that dealing with the youths under proper care was better in preparing them towards becoming responsible adults and that all hands must be on deck to give them the best training in life while assuring the vice-chancellor that operations under her watch would be handled with utmost professionalism, as she appealed for useful information required for intelligence policing.

On his part, the vice-chancellor urged the police to help look into the growing cases of insanity among youths, adding that the police had a role to play in correcting this anomaly. Prof. Salako observed that there were people living in private hostels that are not FUNAAB students, saying that such unidentified persons were the ones causing problems. The Chairman, Police Community Relations Committee (PCRC), Adatan Royal Area Command, Hon. Taiwo Akinlabi, thanked the university for constructing a befitting Police Division in the Adatan Area Command and that the FUNAAB-Harmony Division was the first to be allocated with a patrol vehicle in the state.

The place of virileInformation Technology with reference to national security, as experts have made a case for strategic way at eradicating fake news in the cyber world in order to have a peaceful society. They said misinformation had been on ground for a very long time, adding that the government needed to be proactive in tackling the menace of fake news in society. According to the Deputy Director at the Information and Communication Technology Resource Centre (ICTREC) in FUNAAB, Mr. Temitope Soretire, fake news was the direct decision to give misinformation to the people while stressing the need for people at the grassroots to be educated on how to source credible information.

“There is no way to stop fake news, but one can only provide the right information to tackle. So the best thing is to know how to identify fake news and not to share it”, he added. He described fake news as a deliberate decision to give misinformation to the people, adding that there were many negative effects of fake news including injustice, conflict, war, and so on. Also, a Chief System Analyst at ICTREC, Mrs. Tawakalitu Ayelotan, said if people wanted to use information on social media, they had to be sure that such information was coming from the right source.

According to her, “Once you upload fake news, people that use the information to make decisions will be at disadvantage because they would not be able to use it for right decision making, but rather, to bring about negative results”. In a nutshell, for the country to enjoy peace and develop, the government must engage all segments of the national life for amicable resolution of crisis, which is in tandem with the principles of ADR, but this can be achieved when misinformation and incidence of fake news are handled. This remains a challenge for all stakeholders to address in the quest for a country of our dreams.