FACT-CHECK: Is Buhari’s Claim on #EndSARS Protest Coverage by CNN, BBC True?

VERDICT: FALSE

CLAIM: On December 9, 2020, the Twitter handle of the President of Nigeria @Mbuhari tweeted that the coverage of #EndSARS protest by foreign media was not balanced.

The president’s tweet claims that the CNN and BBC did not give attention to the police officers who were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were invaded.

As at the time of reporting, it has been retweeted by 6700 Twitter users and liked by 9100 times. Multiple media houses including national dailies reported the content of the tweet.

The President’s Spokesperson acknowledged this in a tweet he made on December 11, two days after the President made the false claim.

FACT:

The claim by the President that the CNN and BBC did not give attention to the Police officer killed, the stations that were burnt, and the invasion of prisons during the #EndSARS protest is false.

A review of the reportage of the #EndSARS protests by the two media organizations also show the claim to be false.

On October 20, 2020, the Pidgin service of the BBC reported the burning of Orile police Station by hoodlums.

Photo credit: Rosemary Ajayi (Twitter: @RMAjayi)

Two days after, the BBC reported the attack on the Ikoyi and Warri Prisons in two different reports.

The CNN also reported the Ikoyi Prison incident in this report: Prison set on fire in Nigeria as protest death toll rises to at least 56.

On October 22, 2020, the BBC did an extensive report on the Fake News that went viral on the EndSARS protest on its Reality Check done by Peter Mwai, Nigeria Sars protest: The misinformation circulating online

On October 23, 2020, the BBC reported the reaction of President Muhammadu Buhari to the protest on its World Service. Nigeria protests: President Buhari says 69 killed in unrest

In a widely publiced interview, the governor of Lagos state Babajide Sanwo-Olu told CNN’s Becky Anderson he believes there will be ‘genuine reforms’ of police following EndSARS protests.

The CNN said it was an opportunity to hear the government’s side of the story.

Our review of the reports also shows that the two international media organizations sort and featured the reaction and postion of the government in most of the reports.

Days after it has become apperant to the Presidency that the claim is false, the tweet is yet to be taken down and formal apology tendered.

CONCLUSION

The claim by President Muhammadu Buhari through his Twitter handle (@MBuhari) that the CNN and BBC did not give attention to the policemen that were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons that were opened is false.

CDD is urging handlers of Government Communications channels to always verify all information before disseminating as sharing of false information will continue to reduce the citizen’s trust in the government.

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa