CLAIM: On March 31, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development spotted a WhatsApp broadcast message which has gone viral in Northern region of Nigeria with the claim that President Muhammadu Buhari had sacked his Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari.
The message forwarded to many Nigerians said the president had replaced Kyari with Abiola Ajimobi, a former governor of Oyo State.
The WhatsApp message said a statement was released by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, on Moday, March 31, 2020, in Abuja.
The message read in part: “The termination of the appointment of Abba Kyari took immediate effect. And the President has appointed Ajimobi as New COS” The President ordered Abba Kyari to step down as Chief of Staff due to his health challenge.’’
FACT: Abba Kyari went into self-Isolation after testing positive to Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Presidency said the news that Kyari has been sacked is false and should be disregarded. A post on twitter by Bashir Ahmad, one of the President’s Assistants on new media reads: ‘’Yet another fake news started trending on some WhatsApp groups that ‘President @MBuhari sacked Mallam Abba Kyari and replaced him with former Gov. Abiola Ajimobi’, disregard and dishonour it, entirely untrue!’’
A simple search on google shows no credible news outlet has carried the news. Also, as against the tradition, there is no formal communication in the public space by the Office of Secretary to the Federal Government as claimed by the WhatsApp broadcast on the sack of the President’s Chief of Staff.
On March 29, 2020, President Buhari announced the total lockdown of the nation’s capital Abuja and Lagos and Ogun states to help curb the spread of the Coronavirus.
This, the Presidency said, was in the exercise of the powers conferred on him by Sections 2, 3 and 4 of the Quarantine Act (CAP Q2 LFN 2004) & all other powers enabling him in that behalf.
The claim that President Muhammadu Buhari has terminated the appointment of Mr Abba Kyari as Chief Of Staff (COS) due to his health challenge on the coronavirus is FALSE.
CDD and the National Orientation Agency (NOA) is urging members of the public to disregard the message.