CORONAVIRUS IN NIGERIA: False Claims to Ignore for week ending May 2, 2020

In the past week, we have continued to explore the trending narratives that have emerged from the disinformation spread in Nigeria.

We are just over two months from our index case, and we are seeing a series of interesting developments. 

Here are some of the more popular false stories that we fact-checked between April 26, 2020, and May 2, 2020.

Federal Government Hiding Facts About COVID-19 from Citizens

WhatsApp has continued to be a widely used platform for the dissemination of disinformation. A widely circulated broadcast last  week claimed that the Nigerian government has been hiding vital facts about the Coronavirus outbreak in the country. 

This message which follows an emerging trend stems from deep-seated distrust of the Nigerian government. The broadcast in question names Nigeria’s first female chartered engineer, Mrs Olu Maduka, as the source of the claim.

The message reels out imaginary stories of patients on life support, including a one-month-old baby, who are struggling to breathe. In the message, Mrs Maduka is alleged to have stated that the case of the one-month-old baby made her cry. 

The viral message also alleged that the figures announced by the Nigerian government to the public are about 10% of the actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. It also claimed that the Nigerian Engineer saw eight corpses within one-hour of her visit to the Mainland Hospital, an isolation centre in Lagos.

Investigations by fact-checkers from CDD revealed that Mrs Maduka, who was conferred with the National Honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2008, did not send the WhatsApp broadcast. 

In a video made by her, Mrs Maduka said she was never at the Mainland Hospital in Lagos as claimed in the message neither did she write an article accusing the Nigerian Government of concealing the true state of the fight against Coronavirus. Read our in-depth fact-check here.

Kano Recorded 4 Not 74 new COVID-19 Cases

The Centre spotted numerous online reports claiming that Kano state has recorded 74 new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19)in the state on Saturday, April 25, 2020,

The reports which appeared on online newspapers and across various social media platforms claimed that the Kano state governor, Abdullahi Gandujeduring a press conference announced that the state recorded 74 new positive cases of COVID-19.

According to the reports, Ganduje said that out of 487 samples of the suspected cases taken from the state, 74 turned out positive.

CDD fact checkers investigated the claim and found that contrary to what several newspapers and social media users have reported, only four new cases of Coronavirus were recorded in Kano on Saturday, April 25, 2020.

A confirmation of the investigation was also made by the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) on their website.

The NCDC announced that only four cases turned out positive in the state bringing the number of COVID-19 patients to 77 in the state as at that time.

The agency also said that Kano state has recorded only one death from Coronavirus and zero discharges as at 11:55 pm on April 25, 2020. Read our in-depth report here.

CDD, therefore, urges members of the public to disregard unverified claims while advising that the authenticity of reports be thoroughly checked before publishing and dissemination.