CENTRE FOR DEMOCRACY AND DEVELOPMENT DISINFORMATION NEWSLETTER MAY 30, 2020

Last week, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) fact-checked some misinformation and disinformation which spread online, especially across social media.

The fact-checks included false reports on the trending Coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria and across the globe and some of the activities in Nigeria’s Presidency.

Below are some of the information fact-checked between May 25 and 30, 2020.

Is Trending WhatsApp Message on FG’s Roadmap on Easing of Lockdown from Nigeria?

A WhatsApp broadcast claiming to be the Federal Government’s roadmap for easing the COVID-19 restrictions has been shared extensively on the platform in Nigeria. It has also been shared on some blogs and Facebook pages.

The broadcast claimed that the government’s roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions would be set out in five phases.

It also goes ahead to describe each of the phases, which will be on the 3-week review process.

The WhatsApp broadcast was first published as a Facebook post on May 4, 2020, by a UK-based page and has been shared more than 58,000 times, finding its way to Nigeria.

It outlines the plan to ease the Coronavirus lockdown in Ireland and not Nigeria.

The Irish government first published its plans for a phased reopening of its economy on May 1, 2020, and last updated it on May 23, 2020. 

As the WhatsApp message claims, this will occur in five phases, starting at various points between May 18 and August 10.

Parts of the message also show it does not apply to Nigeria as some of the terms used, especially sports such as GAA, rugby, bowling, and bingo, are not peculiar to Nigeria.

Read full fact check report here.

COVID-19: Is Kano’s Mega Isolation Centre operational?

On Sunday, May 23, 2020, a video made by an unidentified individual circulated on WhatsApp. The individual in the video claimed that the Sani Abacha Stadium, Kano had no Coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

Making a tour of the facility under construction, he claimed that the isolation centre had been abandoned.

He also said that citizens were being lied to by the State Government on the exact situation of the Coronavirus pandemic in Kano State.

According to the person, the data released by the Federal Government on the number of COVID-19 patients in the state is false as he claimed that there was no case of Coronavirus in Kano or Nigeria as a whole.

Checks by CDD fact-checkers show that the government has handed over the proposed isolation centre in question to the Dangote Foundation in the wake of the pandemic.

The Foundation is expected to erect a 213-bed capacity space for the isolation of positive COVID-19 cases in the state.

Reacting to the claims, the Special Adviser on media to the Kano state government, Salihu Yakasai, said isolation centre has never been commissioned for use as claimed by the man in the video.

Yakasai confirmed that the Centre was one of the isolation facilities donated by CACOVID-19 yet to be ready for use.

He said the delay in the activation of the facility is; “because they had to change the design from a normal event marquee like the one they did in Lagos to add wood panels by the sides and floor to prevent the spread of Covid-19 like they figured out was what was happening in that of Lagos.”

A statement from the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) on the matter confirmed that the isolation centre is still under construction.

The statement signed by Zouera Yousoufou, the Chief Executive Officer of Aliko Dangote Foundation, and sent to CDD fact-checkers said the video was produced in sheer mischief.

Yousoufou, who doubles as the administrator of CACOVID, said the coalition had launched its intervention in the fight against Coronavirus in Kano with the establishment of a two-tents facility as a 500-bed Isolation Center, situated at Sani Abacha Stadium, Kofar Mata, in the metropolis.


He said the coalition also provided all the needed equipment, including respirators, lab equipment, oxygen equipment, and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other consumables for the facility that are presently warehoused in the Kano State Ministry of Health stores and other locations pending the completion of the construction work.

“However, given the Infection Prevention and Control Protocols required, and with advice and guidance from the Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Kano State Ministry of Health, the Isolation Center in question had to be redesigned in order to effectively serve the purpose for which it was established,” Yousoufou said.
According to him, the Kano State Government advised that more centres be set up using some of the 500 beds initially procured for the Kofar Mata center.
The statement added that an ongoing redesign project at the Centre includes: introduction of donning and doffing areas at the entrance and exit points of each tent, a cleanable wall and suspended ceiling to create air-tightness, the introduction of insulation, ACs and air extractors in the wards to maintain temperature and keep a negative pressure in the wards.


“The heavy and complex redesign has taken longer than we expected, given the challenges due to the various lockdowns and related slower pace of work. Our expected handover date of the Centre will duly be communicated,” he added.
Also, a review of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) COVID-19 dashboard shows that contrary to claim by the man in the video, as of Monday, May 25, 2020, there were 919 confirmed positive cases in Kano State.

The available NCDC data also shows that Kano is the second state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases after Lagos with 3595 cases.

Read full fact check report here.

Has WHO ‘Finally’ Approved Madagascar’s COVID-19 Organics?

On May 27, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a report on a blog claiming that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved controversial Madagascar’s COVID-19 organics. The blog published the claim as breaking news with the headline: “WHO Finally Approves Madagascar’s Coronavirus ‘Cure”’.

Investigations by CDD fact-checkers show that the Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had a call with President Andry Rajoelina of Madagascar.
Messrs Rajoelina and Tedros, during the call, discussed ways Madagascar and the international organisation could work together on the therapeutics research and development with regards to the COVID-19 Organics.
Therapeutic trials are a kind of experiment which allows the enrollment of patients with specific treatment plans to study the impact of the drug.
Further checks by CDD also show that the WHO only agreed to sign a confidentiality clause on the formulation of the COVID-19 Organics and support clinical observation in Africa.
President Rajoelina, in a recent tweet over the agreement, said WHO and Madagascar have a successful exchange on the matter.
He said Tedros had commended the country’s effort in containing COVID-19.
Rajoelina said: “WHO will sign a confidentiality clause on the formulation of the COVID Organics and will support the clinical observations process in Africa.”
During the call, the parties did not mention anything about the approval of the use of COVID-19 Organics to treat the deadly disease.
CDD fact-checkers can confirm that at no point did the WHO approved the COVID Organics as a cure for the virus.
Read Full fact check report here.

FAKE NEWS SHOW

Please tune in to our Fake News Show airing TV Continental (TVC) on DStv, every Friday at 9 pm, as our host Frank Donga takes you through an educative episode on how Fake News spread, its impact on various sector of our society and how to curb it. #StopFakeNews

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter: @CDDWestAfrica.