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How Fake News Threatened my Marriage


Alhaji Lai Mohammed, a former Minister of Information and National Orientation, recently shared a personal anecdote during an event in Lagos commemorating Prof. Wole Soyinka's 90th birthday. 

In his discourse titled "The Media in the Age of Disinformation," Mohammed recounted how the proliferation of fake news nearly jeopardized his four-decade-long marriage. 

He disclosed this experience during a discussion on the challenges posed by misinformation and disinformation, particularly in the digital era.

Mohammed, who also serves as the Managing Partner of Bruit Costard, a prominent lobbyist and public relations firm, reflected on the significant hurdles he encountered while serving as a minister. 

Among these challenges was the rampant dissemination of fake news, which had profound implications, including the potential to disrupt personal relationships.

During a visit to Lagos in 2018, Mohammed's spouse woke him from sleep at 3 a.m., expressing concern about rumors circulating on social media regarding substantial funds allegedly held by him in an overseas account. 

Mohammed vividly described the anxiety and disbelief he felt upon hearing this false accusation, highlighting the toll it took on his marriage.

He recounted the intense efforts he made to debunk the misinformation, using factual data such as budget figures to demonstrate the fallacy of the claims against him. 

Mohammed underscored the detrimental impact of fake news, emphasizing its ability to sow discord and mistrust, even within intimate relationships.

Drawing from his experience, Mohammed pointed out the broader societal implications of fake news and misinformation. 

He recalled instances where government officials, including himself, were targeted by false narratives, illustrating the pervasive nature of this phenomenon.

In advocating for a proactive approach to combatting misinformation, Mohammed emphasized the crucial role of social media platforms and other stakeholders in ensuring the integrity of information. 

He called for robust regulatory frameworks to monitor and mitigate the spread of false information, while also safeguarding freedom of expression.

Overall, Mohammed's personal account served as a poignant reminder of the profound impact of fake news on individuals, families, and society at large, urging collective action to address this pressing issue in the digital age.

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