The Chief Press Secretary to Gov. Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Mr Taiwo Adisa, has warned against false security alarms in the form of fake audio and video posts on social media in the state.
Adisa, in a statement issued in Ibadan on Sunday, warned the citizens against raising false alarms on the security situation in Ibarapaland and parts of Oke-Ogun zone, adding that security agencies will readily deal with anyone seeking to cause ethnic tension.
The Governor’s aide said, “The penchant of certain individuals, groups and faceless bodies to take to social media and raise unfounded alarm just to cause panic among the people of Oyo State is becoming a cause for concern.”
He equally warned purveyors of such fake information to desist before they plunge the state into crises with unforeseeable consequences, stating that the after-effects of the fake videos, false alarms and fake news would be grave.
According to him, such persons and groups are intimidated by the level of successes recorded in the one and a half year administration of Governor Makinde and believe that they can only gain attention by causing fear and apprehension among the populace.
Adisa particularly mentioned that some viral social media video and audio messages in which false and inciting claims were made about Ayete, Igangan, and other parts of the state have been on the rise in recent weeks.
He said that some of such unfounded and baseless posts include the claim that Amotekun Corps killed some Fulani herdsmen, which amounts to a hoax; the claim that an imaginary 200 houses were razed by hoodlums in Labiran, Ibadan, which the Police vehemently denied; and the claims that the insecurity situation in Ibarapa has escalated, which is outright falsehood.
The statement recalled how the Department of State Security (DSS) had recently released an intelligence report that some people were planning to cause religious and ethnic crises in Oyo and some states.
The statement added that it appeared that there is a plot by some elements, especially politicians, to cause religious and ethnic crisis in Oyo State with a view to derailing the state government, warning, however, that such people must realise that the state is bigger than any individual and that its interest and peace should always be placed above any primordial, personal or political interests.
The statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to a grand plot to precipitate unrest in Oyo State through the use of fake news in the social media. This plot seeks to promote false alarms, misinformation and sponsored fake news through audio, video and Facebook messages and it is with a view to making the state ungovernable.
“As a government, the contents of some of these audio and video releases have been investigated and mostly found to be outright falsehood, baseless claims and products of hate speech, targeted only at discrediting the government and inciting the people.
“As a proactive government, the Makinde-led administration has risen to the occasion on the issue of insecurity and we are already winning the war against criminality, with several measures rolled out to tackle kidnapping and banditry in Ibarapa and some parts of Oke-Ogun, while efforts have also been increased to tame the violent gang wars in Ibadan.”
The statement recalled how Governor Makinde visited Ibarapa, explaining that some gains had already been recorded from the government’s efforts on Ibarapa with community leaders testifying to weeks of respite in Ibarapa and Oke-Ogun axes.
“It will be recalled that Governor Makinde visited Ibarapa last week and he was at the hot spots of crisis, while a high-powered team comprising government delegates and the Police had visited the area and some parts of Oke-Ogun earlier.
“As part of efforts to bring a lasting solution to the security situation in Ibarapa, the government deployed 200 additional Amotekun Corps and also equipped them with four additional operational vehicles.
“The governor has also ordered that Peace and Security Committees be set up across the local governments so that all critical stakeholders would be on board to address security issues in their localities.
“The governor equally convened a meeting of all stakeholders in Ibadan North-East to address the issue of hoodlums and gang wars in the state capital once and for all.
“With all these steps, it is clear the direction the Oyo State Government is going in terms of handling the insecurity challenge and the only thing left to be done is to wait and see the results of the interventions.
“However, we have discovered that some individuals driven by inordinate political ambitions have been over-reaching themselves and sponsoring falsehood against the government.
“In some cases, as seen in a recent viral video, we have seen badly put together video and audio releases, where the supposed whistle-blower, who probably is neither resident in Oyo State nor have much knowledge about Ibarapa, had to read from a script, mistaking people’s names and even claiming he was referring to Ibadan State.
“The truth is, no one can gain anything from the unforeseeable consequences that the plot will bring upon the state. As Governor Makinde recently warned while in Ibarapa, everyone should put the interest of the state first in whatever they do at this period.
“However, our admonition goes to the members of the public across the state. Do not panic; do not succumb to the sponsored falsehood, as the state government is working assiduously to arrest the insecurity situation.
“Similarly, though the governor has made it clear that anyone who sees something should say something to the government, members of the public should ensure they are giving truthful and factual information, so that security agents will not be embarking on a wild goose chase based on wrong information”, the statement concluded.