CLAIM: CDD disinformation spotters has sighted several news stories; including gory videos, connected to the ongoing Xenophobia attack in South Africa. A trending picture has gone viral online with claim that angry Nigerians in response to the attack on Nigerians in South Africa have burnt down an MTN office in Apapa area of Lagos state, South West Nigeria. The picture which was first tweeted by a twitter user @milksha64693019.
The fake story was later shared by popular blogger Linda Ikeji with headline Nigerians set MTN office on fire in Lagos (photos). As at Tuesday, August 3 2018, the post had over 1,400 shares on facebook and other platforms. It has also been shared with different headlines by several blogs and in different Facebook and WhatsAPP groups.
FACT: MTN Network is one of the biggest companies in Africa. MTN Group Limited, formerly M-Cell, is a South African multinational mobile telecommunications company, operating in many African, European and Asian countries, including Nigeria.
CDD Fact checkers had reviewed the news claim on several mainstream and conventional media organizations in the country. Using reverse image tool, we can confidently confirm that the picture from an MTN office scene used by Linda Ikeji and the twitter handle @milksha64693019 were from a fire incidence at an MTN office posted on Nairaland on March 15, 2015. The post shows the Nigeria Fire Service trying to put out the fire in the Communication Company’s main office along Unilorin Zoo road in Kwara state, North Central Nigeria.
While it is true that an MTN office caught fire in Nigeria, it is not the office in Apapa nor was it connected to the on-going rivalry involving Nigerian nationals living in South Africa. CDD condemns the Xenophobia attack in South Africa, but disinforming the Nigerians and the International Community is also condemnable. Peddling fake news is intended to misinform people and further promote hatred. Therefore, the claim that angry Nigerians have burnt down MTN office in Apapa, Lagos State is false.