Did the Driver of the Italian with Confirmed Coronavirus threaten to spread the virus?

VERDICT: False

CLAIM:  On February 28, 2020, Fact Checkers at CDD spotted a news story on AIT Nigeria News Facebook page. The claim reads: MAN WHO DROVE WHITE MAN TO COMPANY IN OGUN STATE DIAGNOSED WITH CORONA VIRUS, RUNS AWAY FROM HOSPITAL AND THREATENS TO SPREAD THE VIRUS ALL OVER NIGERIA BY TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO DIFFERENT STATES, IF HIS FAMILY IS NOT PAID 100MILLION NAIRA’

The post went on to claim that the man, whose picture was displayed on the post and his name given as Adewale Isaac Olorogun, had sent a message to the Ogun State Commissioner for Health demanding 100 Million Naira. A screenshot of the post is trending on WhatsApp and Facebook. In addition, The post was used by NaijaliveTV and theEaglesVoice.com quoting the page as the source. Other sources who posted the news online have since deleted the post, except the AIT Nigeria News.

FACT: Since the discovery of Coronavirus in Nigeria, CDD Fact-checkers has spotted countless number of disinformation, misinformation and fake news. Some satire and funny videos have also been spotted misleading the public.

The AIT Nigeria News Facebook page created on March 7, 2017, is one of those purveyors of Coronavirus related disinformation, misinformation and fake news. The Facebook post, as at report time, has received 2.5k shares, 531comments and over 500 likes. Fact Checks show the Facebook page is not the official Facebook page of the Africa Independent Television (AIT) created February 10, 2011 with 520,142 people followers.  

In January 2017, the AIT Nigeria News posted a death rumour of President Muhammadu Buhari in London and was denied by DAAR Communications, owners of AIT. The post was taken down by Facebook, after the official AIT reported the page.

Following the current outburst of the coronavirus disinformation, AIT has denied the recent post labelling it as fake news. It wrote on its official Twitter account @OfficialAITlive, “This is to inform the general public that the above story purportedly credited to AIT Facebook Account is indeed a FAKE NEWS.  We disown and dissociate our organization in its entirety from the misleading and the fake report. As an organization, we have reported this rather unfortunate development to Facebook for the necessary and appropriate action. For the avoidance of doubt, our official Facebook account is http://facebook.com/@OfficialAITlive.

Our fact-checker contacted the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), by phone (+234 (0)8099555577) Dr Obiefuna Ejezie responded, claiming the information on AIT Nigeria News is false. “The index case is an expatriate and like every Corporate organization, company vehicles are used to transport staff from the airport and back. He never entered an Uber”. Our source further said. Nigerians should disregard all unconfirmed information in the wake of the Coronavirus as the Centre is work hard to bring it under control.

In addition, CDD is in possession of a video recording, allegedly done by the Uber driver, who drove the Italian to Ogun State. The man who gave his name as Igwunube Jude is from Edo state.   

Further checks show that the AIT Nigeria News Facebook page has also changed it cover and profile picture, which carried AIT logo, the moment the Official AIT released a statement.

CONCLUSION

The claim that Adewale Isaac Olorogun, the man who drove the Italian confirmed with COVID-19 from the Lagos airport to Ogun state, has ran away from the hospital and is threatening to spread the virus across Nigeria is entirely False. The AIT Nigeria News intended to disinform the Nigeria public, by creating an unease tension. CDD is urging members of the public to beware of Fake News in the wake of the global outbreak of the COVID-19.

If you need to verify any information, you can reach CDD on Twitter @CDDWestAfrica or email at cddabv@cddwestafrica.org. If you don’t know or trust the source of a story, do not share it. You could be helping to misinform others.