The National Orientation Agency (NOA) said on Friday in Abuja that it has trained no fewer than 180 people on how to discern fake news through fact-checking.
Director-General NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said this at the closing ceremony of the 3rd session of training for fact-checkers.
He said the training was part of federal government’s efforts to tackle the menace of fake news, misinformation and disinformation.
Participants were drawn from the Nigerian Navy, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Federal Island Revenue Service (FIRS) and Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA).
Others were from the Department of State Services (DSS), Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMAN) and Nigeria Financial intelligence Unit (NFIU).
Our correspondent reports that NOA will train 37,000 Nigerians on fact-checking in the 36 states and FCT over the next five years.
Abari said the training was part of the agency’s core mandate, adding that it was collaborating with news outlets, including radio, television and newspapers on fact-checking.
He described as worrisome the prevalence of fake news, misinformation and disinformation in the country.
“We need to make efforts to combat the menace of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, which is also link to a large extend with hate speech.”
“I am mostly concerned about the impact of fake news, misinformation and disinformation in Nigeria. Although fake news and hate speech are global phenomenon the degree varies from country to country.”
“Nigeria, as a country with peculiar diversity, we must have to develop and manage our diversities.”
“What defines us as a Nigerian is our love for each other, respect, integrity, honesty, dignity of labour as well as other values,” he said.
Abari urged the participants to work towards defeating fake news, stressing the need to emphasise on things that unites rather than those that divide us as a nation.
“You have a vital role to play in fact-checking because it is obvious that fake news is devastating,” he said.