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When falsehood becomes order of the day

By Guardian Nigeria
28 April 2022   |   1:57 am
We live in a society where many embrace lies because they see those who speak the truth as odd and lone rangers. Opinions, on sensitive issues, which are capable of inciting others or causing division along religion...

LASTMA

Truth is so obscure in these times and falsehood so established, that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it – Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), French Mathematician, Physicist and Philosopher.

SIR: We live in a society where many embrace lies because they see those who speak the truth as odd and lone rangers. Opinions, on sensitive issues, which are capable of inciting others or causing division along religion, tribe or beliefs, must not be publicly commented on or shared via social media.

The Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) is a traffic enforcement agency and such it is not exempted from the hatred and dislike other law enforcement agencies experience. Not too long ago, via a press release, the management of LASTMA debunked a piece written by an individual who claimed that some LASTMA personnel were seen sharing monies where he went for his Drivers’ licence at Oshodi some weeks ago. Meanwhile, that did not happen within the premises of LASTMA, if it ever happened. And if that was true as alleged by the writer, the complaint and report should have been channelled through the appropriate route and source for confirmation before heading for the media platforms.  The writer described that occurrence he witnessed as extortion.

Some weeks ago, a motorcyclist rode recklessly on BRT corridor and collided with another motorcyclist. If the oncoming BRT vehicle operator had not swerved to his right side, there would have been a serious accident. Many blamed the motorcyclist. Whenever an accident involving BRT vehicle occurs on their dedicated corridor, there is a general wrong notion that it is the driver who is at fault, not the motorcyclist who in any case has no business being on the corridor.  That way, falsehood is easily and quickly propagated.

A recycled fake news story was once again dug out which alleged that Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that the duty of LASTMA personnel is to manage traffic and not to arrest anyone. The purported fake news usually surfaces online yearly and many join in spreading it every time. Those who recycle and spread this fake news forget that LASTMA’s enabling law empowers their personnel to enforce traffic laws and arrest traffic violators. The purported fake news that surfaced online was quickly debunked by Mr.  Bolaji Oreagba, the General Manager of LASTMA. Mr. Oreagba stated categorically during a LASTMA Connect Programme on radio that the recycled news story is fake, misleading and mischievous. This also brings to the fore the damaging impact fake news can have on a society if not quickly curbed.

Today, values have eroded. But it is better to keep an unconfirmed news story to oneself or maintain an objective view rather than spreading it. We must all work unperturbedly to ensure that truth prevails always. Until we love the truth and begin to practise it, we may never enjoy the fruits it bears.
Kayode Solomon Ojewale of the Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA.

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