Femi Adesina, presidential spokesman, says he has suffered in the hands of those who spread fake news and distort information.
He said this in Lagos on Thursday while speaking at the 5th-anniversary lecture of News Express.
Adesina said those who consume fake news alongside those who disseminate it should be punished.
“If anything must worry us as media people or citizens of any country, it is fake news. Fake news is an epidemic now,” Adesina said.
“But it is not just the purveyors of fake news that should be sanctioned, even the consumers of it are guilty because statistics have shown that the world consumes fake news more than true news. I saw those statistics online while doing a research.
“I have suffered a lot from those who twist information. Our president came back August 19 and we said on 21, he was going to broadcast. We said the broadcast was 8am. Suddenly someone went online and said the broadcast has changed to 7am which had no truth in it at all.
“And you know, many people believed the change so a lot of people missed the original broadcast.
“That same day people began to call to ask if there was a public holiday. It turned out that it was Kogi state that declared public holiday and someone went online to say it was national.”
He also cited the supposed speech to be delivered by President Muhammadu Buhari at the 72nd UN General Assembly (UNGA) which went into circulation before the president delivered his speech.
He, therefore, called on the media and the public to be wary of fake and hate speech.
“I only read the first two paragraphs for me to know it was false because I had seen the original,” he said.
“And closely linked to fake news is hate news. Hate news is that piece of information that is meant to cause odium, discord and know that there are some people who do it almost professionally.
“As professionals and even as consumers of media messages, we must learn to separate the wheat from the chaff.
People love to either convey fake news or twist what has been said.
“Their intention is to cause disharmony in the country and we have to watch it.”