Allegations of False information Circulated via Social Media Pose Challenge to my 40-Year-Old Marriage – Lai Mohammed


Former Minister of information and Culture, Lai Mohameed, reminisced about the impact of social media on his four-decade marriage. Speaking at an event in Lagos commemorating the 90th birthday of Wole Soyinka, Noble Laureate, Lai highlighted the formidable challenge of combating ‘fake news, misinformation, and disinformation’ during his tenure as minister.

He said:

“Permit me to share publicly with you today for the first time, how social media threatened the foundation of my forty-year-old marriage. It was sometimes in 2018 when i came to Lagos from Abuja for an official assignment. As usual, i retire to bed about midnight, but about 3 am, my wife gently roused me from my slumber. At first, i panicked, fearing that there had been a security breach, but my wife’s mien belied that possibility, for she calm and composed.

“Solemnly, my wife asked me if i was fully awake as there were some serious issues to discuss. I could not fathom what was that urgent or serious to warrant being woken up at this time og the night. My mind immediately did a kaleidoscope of my rascalities and escapades in the last few months. Daddy, death can come knocking at any moment, please let me also, as your wife, be a signatory to your overseas account in Ali Financial which contains 1.3 billion dollars. “

“I spent the next two hours or so, sweating to convince my wife that there is no iota of truth in the allegation. I had to fetch a calculator and reproduce the federal appropriate act for 2015, 2017 and 2018 in the middle of the night and explain to her why it is simply preposterous for me to have 1.3 billion dollar in a foreign account.”

“I explained to her that there is no year my capital budget exceeded N5 billion, which then, at about N400 to a dollar , was just 12.5 million dollars. I explained that, even if i managed to divert every kobo of it to my personal account , it will take at least, 104 years to save the sum of 1.3 billion dollars being peddled that i stole.”

” My wife insisted that the whole world believed the story and that her friends had as a result, besieged her with all kinds of requests. She said ever effort on her part to deny the existence of this foreign account only succeeded in depicting her in the minds of her friends as a selfish, greedy and uncaring friend. Is my wife truly convinced of my innocence? The answer is in the wind.

Lia Mohammed emphasized that social media continues to be favoured by those spreading the fake news, anti-state agendas, anarchy, separatism, terrorism, and banditry. He advocate for strong regulatory measures to combat misinformation while upholding freedom of expression.

The consequences of disinformation and misinformation are far-reaching. They undermine democratic process, sow discord within communities, and pose significant threats to public health and safety. Today, even the media is at risk of losing its credibility because of the proliferation of fake news on the social media. Therefore, the media, as custodian of the public trust, must take decisive action to combat the scourge of disinformation and misinformation.

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