CLAIM: On March 4, 2020, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a news story on Opera News app claiming that the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Lai Mohammed has said that no Nigerian is hungry.
The report was published with the headline: “No Nigerian is hungry, we have disbursed 100billion naira to poor Nigerians” – Lai Mohammed
According to the report, the minister had said Nigerians are not hungry because the government have disbursed over 100 billion Naira to poor and vulnerable persons affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown all over Nigeria.
The viral report which was posted on Facebook has been shared over a hundred times and with several comments.
The minister never said no Nigerian is hungry. The news story which has been reported by other sources online including Ireportonline, wathappen, and nairaland did not state where the Minister made the statement and to what audience.
To further verify the story, CDD fact-checkers reached out to the Minister who denied making the statement.
Mr. Lai said: “I never said that Nigerians are not hungry. The blogs are known as fabricators of fake news and their intention is to distract the government from its fight against COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to Mr Lai, the government will never be distracted from the job at hand and Nigerians should ignore them.
“The government is committed to addressing the problem at hand,” he said.
Pressed further if he has granted any press interviews recently, the Minister replied ” they should provide video evidence of the conference where I said that”
The opera news app is an open-source news app open to the public to contribute, which means anybody with an account can contribute news stories making it an unlikely source of credible news. The news story which is riddled with grammatical errors did not also provide credible evidence in the form of image or video to back up its claim.
The image attached to the story is from the disbursement of Federal government’s COVID -19 palliative by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq.
The Minister of Information and Culture never said: ” no Nigerian is hungry” nor did he say the government has disbursed N100 billion to poor Nigerians as claimed by the viral news story. The CDD is urging members of the public to verify every information before sharing it.