Kayode Egbetokun, the inspector-general of police (IGP), has asked Nigeria Police Force Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) to clamp down on persons spreading fake news to jeopardise national security.
Egbetokun directed that persons found spreading false information or engaging in cyberbullying should be prosecuted.
In a statement on Monday, Muyiwa Adejobi, force spokesperson, said certain individuals have started sharing old contents on various social media platforms to “undermine public trust in the policing system”.
Adejobi said the force condemned “dissemination of fake news and the perpetuation of cyberbullying aimed at discrediting the diligent efforts of our officers”.
The force spokesperson said fake news and cyberbullying are against the provisions of Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.
He added that fake news and cyberbullying do not only “pose a threat to the force but also have the potential to incite fear and discord within the country”.
“In response to this alarming trend, the NPF is intensifying its efforts to combat fake news and cyberbullying through increased vigilance and monitoring of online platforms,” the statement reads.
“The IGP has ordered the NPF National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) to clamp down on those individuals and groups of people who are bent on jeopardizing our national security and stability via the spread of fake news and misinformation.
“The IGP also ordered that all perpetrators found spreading false information or engaging in cyberbullying be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“The Police will work closely with relevant authorities to ensure swift and appropriate legal action against offenders.
“The NPF, therefore, calls upon all citizens to exercise caution and discernment when consuming and sharing information online.
“Together, we must stand united against the spread of misinformation and cyberbullying, recognizing that the safety and well-being of our country depend on our collective efforts to uphold truth and integrity.”
Recently, Femi Gbajabiamila, chief of staff (CoS) to President Bola Tinubu, said social media has become a societal menace that should be regulated.
The comment by Gbajabiamila elicited harsh reactions as many Nigerians argued that the political class wants to regulate social media to stifle differing views
In October 2023, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) said it had sent a bill for the regulation of social media to the national assembly.
The regulator is seeking to repeal and reenact the NBC act, CAP L11 laws of the federation of Nigeria 2004.