Ijaw national leader Edwin Clark, has accused the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, of spreading fake news against Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and should be prosecuted for it.
Speaking in Washington DC on 4 April, during an engagement with some international media organizations, Mohammed warned Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, his running mate, against inciting violence over the outcome of the election.
Baba-Ahmed had said in an interview with Channels Television that Bola Tinubu, the President-elect, did not meet the constitutional requirements to become Nigeria’s President.
He said Tinubu failed to fulfill the requirements stipulated for election to the office of the President and asked the chief justice of Nigeria (CJN) not to swear him in as President.
His statement received backlash from prominent Nigerians, including Wole Soyinka, the Nobel laureate, but Mohammed took the criticism of the remark to an international level.
Reacting to this in a statement on Monday, Clark, a convener of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), said the minister of information misused the office to commit an illegitimate act.
He called on the attorney general of the nation to “undertake thorough investigation of the activities” of Mohammed and charge him to court for constituting himself as “mastermind and disseminator of fake news”.
Clark added that the discovery of a plot of an interim government aimed at overthrowing the federal government was malicious and untrue.
“Like I said, Lai Mohammed did not base his information on any credible intelligence report from the state agencies, but on propaganda and falsity. Therefore, I am of the opinion that he should be charged for spreading unhealthy information and fake news against an innocent Nigerian who is very prominent and has proven his worth in the country. Lai Mohammed used the exalted position of the office of the nation’s ministry of information to commit this perfidy,” he said.
“As Lai Mohammed knows well, most Nigerians today are very keen observers of what is going on in the country. We have also continued to watch and closely watch actions, inactions, and utterances by the key political actors and their close associates. It is therefore totally unacceptable that a minister in charge of a sensitive government department as dissemination of information should constitute himself to become the purveyor of false information, innuendos, and even fake news.
“It is clear therefore that the minister of information has constituted himself to become the mastermind and disseminator of fake news. This leaves us with no option than to call on the attorney general of the nation to undertake thorough investigation of the activities of the minister and charge him to court.
“It is criminal, unpatriotic, and wicked for anyone to draw the name of Peter Obi who fully participated in the 2023 presidential election and who has gone to court to express his dissatisfaction with the outcome of the presidential election and his popularity which has spread to all part of the country as a wildfire has no doubt caused a great embarrassment to the federal government.
“What is being alleged as a discovery of a plot to overthrow the federal government by DSS is malicious and untrue.”