By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – Speaker of the Bauchi State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon Abubakar Suleiman, on Wednesday tasked professional journalists, scholars, stakeholders and patriots to join hands and come up with strategy to fight fake news and hate speech in Nigeria.
He lamented over the activities of some unpatriotic people who misuse the social media platforms to peddle fake news and hate speech; saying this is capable of tarnishing the image of people and cause disharmony among Nigerians.
Hon Suleiman stated this at the maiden Public Lecture/Award Presentation organized by Arewa Online Publishers Association, (AOPA), in Kaduna recently, where he bagged the “Most Friendly Speaker of the Year” award.
He narrated how recently the social media space in Bauchi State was thrown into confusion with fake news that the state Governor, Senator Bala Mohammad, was stoned and booed at a function in Ningi.
According to him; “I was at the Boarder to receive the Governor, who I accompanied to an event and after the event I escorted him to the Boarder. Nothing of that nature happened but fake news peddlers comfortably spread this lies.”
The Hon Speaker said that he has a strong desire for an open Bauchi State House of Assembly with prompt and immediate information flow so that citizens of the state and other parts of the country will know what their representatives are doing at the legislative arm.
“To ensure this is achieved, I appointed one of you as a media aide, a professional journalist with competence and ability to discharge this onerous responsibility,” he said.
Hon. Suleiman further said that the development in technology which brought the social media and online journalism has transformed communication and information dissemination, hence, given politicians opportunity to reach citizens with immediacy and receive quick feedback.
He commended the Association for coming together to improve modern information dissemination which he said will change the narratives about Northern region, bedeviled with the consequences of insurgency, poverty and many social ills.
He also called on Northern philanthropists and businessmen to establish media outfits with a view to further protect, project and defend the battered image and interest of the region.
In his address, Chairman of AOPA, Zakari Ahmed, said the Speaker bagged the award because the Association has followed with keen interest, his leadership qualities which have given the Bauchi House of Assembly a new meaning.
According to him, “It is on record that you are the first Speaker to appoint a journalist as media aide in the history of Bauchi State House of Assembly. There is prompt information flow from the Assembly. There is hardly a day you will not read news from the State House of Assembly in national dailies and other media platforms.”
Other recipients includes: Governor Bala Mohammad of Bauchi State, Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumini Usman, Dean School of Postgraduate Studies, Bayero University Kano, Prof. Umaru Pate, Vice Chancellor Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, among others.