Lagos — Misinformation risks worsening ethnic and religious tensions in Nigeria, media commentators and researchers say, at a time of heightened concern about internal security and fragile community relations. The months and weeks running up to recent elections saw a slew of false claims about politicians and their parties, as part of deliberate attempts to shape the narrative before polling. Africa’s most populous nation is often characterised as teetering on the brink. Security threats include Boko Haram Islamists in the northeast and violence between nomadic cattle herders and farmers in central states. The latter is primarily a battle for water and land but those involved have been polarised along ethnic, sectarian and religious lines, in a country with more than 250 ethnic groups and where identity is rarely far from the surface. Simon Kolawole, a former editor with Nigeria’s This Day newspaper and founder of The Cable online news site, said manufactured lies in the guise of ne...

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