FACT-CHECK NEWSLETTER ENDING AUGUST 16, 2020

As the world is coming to terms with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and people adapting to the new normal, misinformation surrounding the disease prevention and its treatment is now on the decline.

However, a review of most of our fact-checks shows that we are back to other forms of disinformation.

In the north, we countered a false story that a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Sanusi Lamido Sanusi was appointed Khalifa of Tijjaniyya religious set in charge of Africa.

Also, during the past week, online scammers sent messages to unsuspecting members of the public that the CBN had approved funds for disbursement to citizens. The report urged those who want to benefit from the relief fund to call a number released to the public.

Also, in a widely published claim, several news outlets published reports that the Federal Government of Nigeria has abandoned the printed National Identity cards in favour of digital identity.

We have fact-checked these claims below to keep you informed:

FACT-CHECK: Has Former Emir Sanusi Been Appointed Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in-Charge of Africa?

On Monday, August 10, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted several Facebook and WhatsApp posts claiming that the past Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has been appointed the Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in the African region. 

The claim by several blogs and individuals followed the former Emir’s visit to the family of the renown cleric and founder of Tijjaniyya movement, Sheikh Ibrahim Inyass, in Senegal.

Hausa Reporters claimed Sanusi inherited his position from his grandfather by assuming the post of Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in Africa and Emir of Kano.

In its report, Hausa Info and Opera News claimed Sanusi was appointed as successor to Sheikh Tijjani Inyass during his visit to Senegal.

On August 6, 2020, Sanusi left for Senegal to condole with the family of Sheikh Inyass over the death of the last son of Sheikh Ibrahim, the founder and leader of Tijjaniyya sect, Sheikh Tijjani Inyass. 

Checks by the CDD show that the former Emir was not appointed successor or Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in Africa as widely reported.

When contacted, Maryam Hamisu, a media aide to the former Emir, told CDD fact-checkers that Sanusi was not appointed as the Khalifa of Tijjaniyya in the African region. 

Maryam said: “We also saw the news of his highness appointment as the successor of Tijjaniyya in Africa on social media, it is the work of admirers. But the truth of the matter is that the claim is untrue”.

Read Full fact-check here

FACT-CHECK: Is CBN Sending N85,000 COVID-19 Relief To Nigerians?

On Sunday, August 9, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted text messages urging Nigerians to contact a mobile number to claim their COVID-19 relief fund.

The messages claimed that the fund approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be sent to different categories of Nigerians (not clarified) at either N45,000 or N85,000 each.

According to the second message, the N45,000 relief fund will be sent through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The message read in part: “Congratulations Youth empowerment, due to covid_19 you’ve been approved to receive N85,000 from the CBN contact to claim your prize +23408038673870”.

Investigations by CDD fact-checkers show that the purported message did not emanate from the Federal Government or the CBN as claimed.

The message, clearly handiwork of fraudsters is a means used to lure people into given providing access to their bank details and other personal information.

Calls put through the mobile phone number showed that it was registered on truecaller as Felsu Azezat. Several calls  made to the line was not answered or returned as at the time of publishing this fact-check.

Also, checks by the Centre show the fraudsters used different numbers to contact people with the same message and different contact numbers to reach out to for prizes listed for claims.

Further checks by the centre show that CBN has already given out loans through the right channels. The beneficiaries of these loans are agricultural loans, Micro, Small and Enterprises Development Fund (CBN MSMEDF Loan).

Read full report here

Has the FG Dumped the National ID Card and Replaced it with Digital Identity? 

On Thursday, August 13, 2020, multiple news sources published a claim that the Federal Government of Nigeria has dumped the use of the National Identity Card for Digital Identity. 

One of the headlines read ‘’ FG dumps Plastic National Identity Card for Digital Identification’’

The claim published by various news organisations including Vanguard, the Sun, Legit.ng and Daily Trust claimed the Federal Government abandoned printed ID cards for Digital mode of identification.

The reports attributed the claim to the Minister of Interior and Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Citizen Data Management and Harmonisation, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola.

The Federal Government of Nigeria did not say it has dumped the printed Identity Card currently in use by citizens.

A statement by the Minister said the presidential committee had recommended that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) exclusively collect biometric data of all Nigeria.


According to Aregbesola, all agencies capturing identity data should be directed to commence full enforcement of National Identitification Number (NIN) as a requirement for accessing their services.

A review of the statement by CDD fact-checkers shows that the minister never said that the printed identity cards would be dumped by the Federal Government.

Aregbesola said the data collected should be stored alongside its licensees; exclusive in the National identity database.

He also called for the discontinuance of biometric data storage of new registration by all agencies and institutions in Nigeria. 

The committee also recommended a mandatory use of the National Identification Number (NIN) by all Mobile Network Operations (MNOs) for issuance of Subscriber Identification Module (SIM).

The use of NIN, the committee said should be in effect from June 30, 2021, and subject to the issuance of NIN by NIMC to at least 80 per cent of the population and NIN as a unique identifier for all public servants.

To further verify the claim, CDD fact-checkers reached out to the Press Secretary to the Minister of Interior, Mrs Jane Osuji, who said the claim was misleading.

Osuji said the Minister never said the country was going to discontinue issuance of printed cards.

“No, that headline is misleading, I don’t even know how they came about such a headline,” Osuji said.

The claim that the Federal Government of Nigeria has dumped National Identity cards or replaced the National ID cards with Digital Identity is misleading.

Read the full report here

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CDD is urging members of the public to seek clarification on all information they receive.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa