In the past week, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has countered some disinformation spreading across various social media spaces.

Some of the fact-checks showed that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic ravaging the world has changed most of the activities in the Nigerian system.

Below are the fact-checks produced by the CDD between July 13 and July 19, 2020.

FACT CHECK: Has FG asked Nigerians to visit NDE offices for Empowerment Exercise?

Since Friday, July 17, 2020, a WhatsApp message asking young Nigerians interested in applying for special public works programme circulated on the App.

The message urged the prospective applicants to visit offices of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) in their states to register for the programme.

Part of the message read, “Please go to NDE office in your state and register for 774000 empowerment exercise going on now in the whole federation.’’

The messages also had addresses of the NDE State offices in 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.
The Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Mr Festus Keyamo, SAN, has announced that the details of the message are false.

Read full fact-check here

FACT CHECK: Did the FG Agree to Pay Private School Teacher’s Salary owed During the Lockdown?

On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, several online platforms reported that the Federal Government of Nigeria had agreed to pay salaries of private school teachers owed during the lockdown.

The report credited to a statement by the President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS), Yomi Otubela, who had said that only private schools registered under its association would benefit from the FG’s bailout.

According to the report, the proposal has been sent to the Economic Sustainability Committee headed by the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, and approved by the Federal Executive Council.

Fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) contacted the office of the Vice President to verify the information. Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant-Media and Publicity to Professor Osinbajo confirmed the report.

Akande said private schools and other qualified Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMES) would benefit from the payroll support after some criteria have been spelt out.

He said: “The FG will receive staff information from the benefiting MSMES and money sent directly to the affected staff.’’

In addition, the Vice President while speaking at the 2020 edition of the Micro Small And Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) awards said private schools will benefit from the government’s stimulus package.

The claim that the Federal Government has agreed to pay the salaries of private school teacher’s owed by the schools during the lockdown is true.

Read full fact check here

Did President Donald Trump Tweet About Wearing A Face Mask?

On Thursday, July 16, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a screenshot of a tweet claimed to have been shared by the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

A screenshot of the tweet which read: “Wear a Mask” was reshared by @scienceIsnew who claimed the tweet was made by hackers.

Their caption read, “What Donald Trump should have done, was done by Hackers, #twitterhacked Hackers left an important message while cleanly stealing bitcoins.’’

The tweet is an example of how new technology is being used in promoting falsehood online.

Available information shows that the US President never made such tweet, neither was his account hacked as claimed by @scienceIsnew in its caption.

The American media had on Saturday, July 11, 2020 , gone frenzy when President Trump was seen wearing a face mask as he walked down a hallway during his visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

In a quick reaction, Twitter said it believes the hack is an attack on some of its employees with access to the company’s internal tools, CNN reports.

Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, said the company is investigating what happened.

“Tough day for us at Twitter. We all feel terrible this happened. We’re diagnosing and will share everything we can when we have a more complete understanding of exactly what happened,” Jack said.

The report said a White House spokesperson said: “The president will remain on Twitter. His account was secure and not jeopardised during these attacks.”

Also, a review of the Trump’s Twitter page shows that the US president did not make such tweet at the time on the screenshot. The US President is also not known for deleting his tweets. 

Our analysis shows the tweet was made using a Fake Tweet online tool. 

US President Donald Trump did not tweet about wearing a mask. The tweet was made using a Fake Tweet online app to misinform the public.

Read full fact check here

CDD, therefore, urges members of the public to always verify all information before disseminating them.

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

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation