On Thursday, May 21, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a broadcast on WhatsApp claiming that the Federal Government (FG) has announced plans to take legal action against three states in the North.
The claim said the FG’s decision to file a suit against Borno, Adamawa and Gombe States follows the lifting of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown imposed by the President across the nation.
According to the claim, the states acted against the rules put in place by the FG to curb the spread of the disease.
Investigations by fact-checkers at the CDD have shown that reports that the FG announced moves to drag the three states to court is a mere rumour.
Reacting to the claim, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, told CDD fact-checkers that the FG never announced plans to sue any state for lifting the COVID-19 lockdown.
Mohammed said: “What I am aware of is that the Chairman of Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 called for a single national response. He never said the FG will sue any state government for lifting a lockdown.”
To buttress CDD’s investigations, a three-week lockdown necessitated by COVID-19 was eased by the Borno State Government on Wednesday, May 13.
However, the State Government said warned that should the situation escalate, it would revert to the status quo.
In Adamawa, the State Government had on the same day eased restrictions on worship places and social gatherings following the discharge of five COVID-19 patients.
Also, the Gombe State Governor lifted the ban on congregational prayer with conditions that all residents of the state must adhere strictly to preventive measures given by experts.
Checks by the CDD also showed that the activities of the States have nothing to do with the FG as the lockdown were all imposed by the State Governments.
The FG never announced its plan to file a suit against any of the three Northern States.
The CDD urges the general public to desist from diseminating such disinformation and always verify reports from authorised sources.
You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter: @CDDWestAfrica.