By Abiemwense Moru
The Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, has urged media practitioners in the country to refrain from reporting fake news.
Onaiyekan, who gave the advice on Sunday in Abuja at a forum to mark the 2018 World Communications Day, said fake news destroys character and communal living.
He also advised journalists to desist from sharing or lifting unverified sources of information from social media as this is capable of destroying the peaceful co-existence of a country.
Onaiyekan, who was represented by the Director of Social Communications in the Archdiocese, Rev. Patrick Alumuku, said media men must continue to work in truth in pursuit of peace.
The cleric, who spoke on the theme, “Journalism for Peace,’’ stressed that communications emanated from God right from creation and the church had always encouraged peaceful and sustainable communication in the family and society.
“Media men and women are called to work in truth and in the pursuit of peace. The church wants good news to reach the whole world, but we can’t achieve this without the media.
“It is as a result of this that the church is investing in the training of media personnel, especially in social media,“ he said.
The Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, reiterated the commitment of President Muhammadu Buhari to uniting the nation and ushering in enduring peace.
He advised Nigerians not to despair but have absolute faith in the ability of the president to bring sustainable development and unity of purpose.
“I want to assure you that the president is really working round the clock to ensure that peace is maintained in our nation.
“Mr President is committed to improving the lot of the citizenry and I would appeal to Nigerians to give him a chance.
“We know things are tough but tough times don’t last forever and we shall overcome. I can assure you Nigeria will soon return to its old glory,” he said.
In his remarks, Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, gave an assurance that the challenges facing the nation would soon be a thing of the past.
He urged Nigerians to believe in the nation, stressing that the hardship many Nigerians may be undergoing would soon end.
“ We must believe in Nigeria instead of balkanising it. Nigeria may be in distress and this may be a challenging period for some of us but Nigeria will soon overcome this hardship,” he said.