The Nigeria Police Force has condemned the spread of fake news and the perpetuation of cyberbullying, to discredit officers and the police system in the country.
The force warned citizens to exercise caution in the consumption and sharing of information online, noting that the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, had ordered that persons found engaging in cyberbullying or spreading false information should be prosecuted “to the full extent of the law”.
This was contained in a statement on Monday signed by the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi.
Adejobi said the police had observed that individuals and groups maliciously spread old content and misinformation on various online platforms, with the intention “to undermine public trust in the policing system”, adding that the act was criminalised by “the combined effect of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and other extant criminal laws”
He described the spread of fake news as an assault on the security architecture of the country and disclosed that the IGP had ordered the NPF National Cybercrime Centre, to monitor online platforms, and to clamp down on individuals and groups bent on jeopardising Nigeria’s national security
The statement read in part, “The Nigeria Police Force condemns in the strongest terms the dissemination of fake news and the perpetuation of cyberbullying aimed at discrediting the diligent efforts of our officers in maintaining law and order. It has come to our attention that certain individuals and groups have been maliciously spreading old content and misinformation across various online platforms, seeking to undermine public trust in the policing system.
“Fake news and cyber bullying which are criminalised by the combined effect of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015 and other extant criminal laws, not only pose a threat to the reputation of the Force but also have the potential to incite fear and discord within the country.
“In response to this alarming trend, the NPF is intensifying its efforts to combat fake news and cyberbullying through increased vigilance and monitoring of online platforms as the IGP has ordered the NPF National Cybercrime Centre (NPF-NCCC) to clamp down on those individuals and groups of people who are bent on jeopardizing our national security and stability via the spread of fake news and misinformation.
“The IGP also ordered that all perpetrators found spreading false information or engaging in cyberbullying be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. The Police will work closely with relevant authorities to ensure swift and appropriate legal action against offenders.”