The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday disclosed that it is engaging the National Orientation Agency (NOA) as well as regulators of public agencies to curb the activities of illegal operators.
Director General of the SEC, Mr. Lamido Yuguda stated this in a goodwill message at the opening ceremony of a National Fact-Checking Course organized by the NOA in Abuja.
Yuguda who was represented by the Executive Commissioner Corporate Services of the SEC, Mr. Ibrahim Boyi, stated that Nigeria’s investment climate has continued to witness the proliferation of illegal Fund Managers, popularly referred to as Ponzi Schemes as the promoters of these Schemes continue to defraud millions of citizens, by promising them mind-boggling returns on investments.
According to him: “Such Schemes with all the illegality and promises of unrealistic returns have burnt the fortunes of many ambitious investors, from Yuan Dong Ponzi to Galaxy Transport, Famzhi Interbiz Limited, Cowlane and Durell, and the infamous Mavrodi Mundial Movement (MMM).
“The upsurge of these Schemes has undermined the reputation of the capital market and dampened investors’ confidence, among other things. This has created a considerable challenge to the growth of our market, and the Commission is striving to change the narrative by instilling a fair, transparent, and orderly market”.
Yuguda said while the SEC, in collaboration with other regulators in the financial sector, strives to clamp down on merchants of fake news and Ponzi Schemes, investors also have a huge role to play.
“Investors are advised to always confirm if the investment product, scheme, or company is registered with the SEC before investing. This could be done through our website: www.sec.gov.ng or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or from other regulatory authorities.
“Investments enable growth in wealth, thus while encouraging more retail investments, we urge you to invest in investment classes and products approved by the SEC, which can be confirmed through the channels provided above” He stated.
The SEC DG described the course as a timely programme that would go a long way to check the scourge of fake news, misinformation, and disinformation.
He said disinformation, misinformation, and fake news are often intended to instigate hate, anger, and acrimony. Consequently, causing disaffection, division, violence, and even war.
“Disinformation in the media has long existed in different forms. However, modern fake news has attracted significant attention due to its prevalence and impact in the social media era.
“The SEC, as the apex regulator of the Nigerian capital market recognizes the effect fake news can have on the market, as it can significantly impact prices in the capital market.
“NOA’s drive to build detectors is therefore commendable. The capital market requires such fact-checkers to mitigate measures from fraudsters in the field of information-based securities fraud” He stated.
Yuguda therefore assured of the Commission’s continuous support, engagement, and collaboration towards bringing sustainable growth and development to our markets and the nation at large.
In his remarks, DG of NOA, Dr. Garba Abari expressed the need to expand the frontiers of the conversation around the issue of fake news which has become a matter of concern both in Nigeria and the world over.
He said it has become more imperative now especially with the elections approaching, which makes the training more compelling.
Abari said the aim is to train 37,000 Nigerian fact checkers cutting across different spheres of national life; the military and security agencies, organized private sector, the public service at large, newspapers and online media practitioners, bloggers, and private citizens, that whatever knowledge applied within here is a knowledge that can be replicated at home through our family members and in our respective places of work.
“The idea is first is to help the country before we enjoy all the freedom that we need. The social, conventional, and orthodox media have become an agent of propagating hate, mischief and creating an atmosphere that should not arise, thereby escalating our diversity, religious and different partisan preferences,” he stated.