The Federal Government has admonished the media and politicians not to sabotage the ongoing efforts to end the insurgency and secure the release of the remaining Chibok and Dapchi girls.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, gave the admonition at a press briefing in Lagos on Sunday.
He was reacting to the fake news making the rounds concerning one Sgt. David Bako, who claimed he was part of alleged conspiracy by Government to abduct the Dapchi girls.
Mohammed, who said the news was fake, appealed to the media to be more careful in disseminating materials that could serve no other purpose than to sabotage efforts of the government.
The minister said “there is no such soldier in the Nigerian Army’’ and appealed for non-partisanship on the issue of security.
He said: “This is a classic example of what I have just said: Disinformation and fake news! I can tell you categorically that this David Bako is fake.
“The intention of those behind the disinformation and fake news is to cause disaffection between Christians and Muslims, and between Southerners and Northerners.
“We all have to be safe and alive before we can even belong to any political party. And whether you are in government or in opposition, Nigeria belongs to all of us.”
He reiterated that naysayers were growing more desperate and would stop at nothing, including disinformation and fake news, to muddle the waters.
The minister said the administration’s success in seeking an early release of the Dapchi girls had ruffled many feathers and upturned a lot of plans by naysayers.
Mohammed said: “They have not been able to sleep since the girls came back.
“Their campaign to unseat President Muhammadu Buhari is fuelling their desperation.
“Nigerians should prepare to see more avalanche of disinformation and fake news. But they should not lend any credibility to such reports.
“They belong to the trash can!’’
The minister, on behalf of the federal government, thanked Nigerians for their support and prayers.
He said: “We are grateful for their belief in the ability of this government to secure an early release of the girls.
“We will continue with the ongoing efforts to account for the remaining six Dapchi girls, and indeed to bring back our remaining Chibok girls.”
The minister reiterated the commitment of the Administration to the fight against terrorism and insurgency.
He said the security services had since been directed to put in place further measures around all schools vulnerable to attacks to ensure the safety of pupils/students, teachers and school workers.
He said the President had also tasked all the security agencies to work to ensure the country did not witness any recurrence of the incidents.
Mohammed said: “Let me emphasise the government’s position that while the military efforts are necessarily ongoing, we are willing to continue engaging in a meaningful dialogue.
“The dialogue is not only about the release of hostages, but intended at a broader engagement on conflict mitigation (reduction of the violence, possibility of ceasefire, protection of civilians, increased humanitarian access).
“Government is therefore willing to engage on measures which can lead to stopping the bloodshed and finding long-lasting solutions to the conflict.’’