How l almost lost my 4o-year old marriage to fake news-Former minister LAI MOHAMMED speaks

Sunday, March 24, 2024 
Former minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has recalled how social media threatened his 40-year-old marriage.

Lai, who spoke in Lagos at an event to commemorate the 90th birthday anniversary of Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, stated that one of the pressing challenges he faced in office as minister was the spate of ‘’fake news, misinformation and disinformation'' which were far-reaching. 

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 was 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 of 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 oversea 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 appropriation act for 2015, 2016, 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 dollars 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 every 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!”

Lai Mohammed also averred that social media remain the platforms of choice for the purveyors of fake news, anti-state groups, anarchists, secessionists, terrorists and bandits. The former minister called for a robust regulatory frameworks to curb the spread of false information while safeguarding freedom of expression

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