The National Orientation Agency (NOA) has said that it has trained 37,000 Nigeria to fact check information, as part of the measures to checkmate fake news and hate speech during the 2023 general elections.
Mr. Paul Odenyi, Assistant Director, Media and Publicity, NOA, said this on Wednesday in Abuja at the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) Capacity Building Workshop on Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue.
He said that the Course 12 of the programme, which is aimed at equipping the trainees with required knowledge and tools to counter fake news.
Odenyi spoke on how the National Orientation Agency (NOA) can utilise the media and other sensitization platforms to enhance peace and social cohesion in the country.
Given the numerous havoc fake news and hate speech have created, Odenyi said, “Arising from the foregoing, it is easy to understand why, this year alone, we at NOA embarked on the project of empowering 37,000 Nigerians with the skills to fact check information in the era of fake news and hate speech.
“We are already in Course 12 of that programme and several thousands of Nigerians, especially in the public service, have been equiped with that important skill to verify what is factual, true and appropriate in the information system.”
In his opening address, the Coordinator AFRICMIL, Dr. Chido Onumah, said political and religious actors and mischief makers who thrive on conflicts have continued to exploit the lack of MIL knowledge among the great majority of the citizens to deepen the fault lines by propagating messages of hate, extremism, misinformation and fake news.
Onumah, represented by the center’s Program Manager, Mr. Kola Ogunbiyi, said the purpose of the workshop was to empower opinion leaders and young people in various communities with MIL competencies.