As we continue to work towards countering disinformation and misinformation usually spread across various platforms – online and offline – the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) believes that there is now need more than ever to find a lasting solution to the risk posed by false information and narratives. One thing that must be taken into cognizance is the fact that our collective effort is needed – everyone one of us; the people media organisations, civil society and the government at every level – to curb disinformation.
We must come to the realisation that we owe ourselves, as a duty, to ensure that the media space is devoid of claims and narratives that could cause harm, mislead people or endanger the lives of others. It is for this reason we have consistently called on both citizens and state actors to be cautious in the dissemination of information.
While at this, it is important to note that governments around the world have now moved governance to the digital space in other to keep in touch with the ever-growing online population and for the reach and convenience online spaces provide.
However, some government officials and influential individuals engage in the proliferation of misinformation on the digital space to a large audience to suit their political agenda and other motives.
This week, the CDD spotted a claim on the Twitter page of the President of Nigeria, @Mbuhari which claimed that the coverage of #EndSARS protest by foreign media was not balanced.
The President in his tweet claimed that the CNN and BBC did not give attention to the Police officers who were killed, the stations that were burnt, and prisons invaded by some hoodlums across the country during the protest.
As at the time of publishing our fact-check, the President’s tweet had been retweeted by 6700 Twitter users and liked by 9100 times. Multiple media houses including national dailies reported the content of the tweet.
In a swift reaction to the tweet, the Presidential Spokesperson, Garba Shehu, acknowledged the claim made by President Buhari.
Checks by the CDD showed that the claim is false.
On Friday, December 11, 2020, fact-checkers at CDD spotted a claim on ireporteronline that the Federal Government has directed the preparation of the reopening of isolation centres across Nigeria following a perceived second wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The headline of the report read that: “FG directs COVID-19 isolation centres to prepare for reopening”
Investigations carried out by CDD fact-checkers show that indeed the Federal Government announced the re-opening of COVID-19 isolation centres in the country.
In a statement issued by the COVID-19 Presidential Task Force during a press briefing on Thursday, December 10, FG explained that some isolation centres were closed due to the low turnout of COVID-19 patients/cases.
The COVID-19 PTF said that with the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19 pandemic in the country isolation centres will be re-opening.
Also speaking at the briefing, Nigeria’s Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, directed all health workers across the country to be on red alert following the surge in the number of COVID-19 infection.
Also within the week, fact-checkers and volunteers at the Centre spotted a screenshot of a tweet claimed to be from popular Nigerian Journalist Kiki Mordi on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp.
The tweet read claimed that Mordi said that there is nothing wrong with a lady’s decision to abort her baby if she finds out it’s male.
“I for none would prefer a female child to a male one so it is well justified and within my rights to abort a baby for the sole reason of being male,” Mordi said.
The screenshot was shared widely on Twitter and later found its way to Facebook with many people condemning the journalist.
Fact-checkers at the CDD analyzed the tweet and found it to be fake. Our findings show that the tweet was created using an online app, Fake Tweet generator.
The CDD also reached out to Mordi who debunked the tweet saying its fake. Also, a review of her Twitter handle, @kikimordi, by CDD showed that the tweet allegedly made on November 27, 2020, could not be found.
Also, a search for residues of the purported tweet yielded no result as there were no reactions, comments or even impression to show that she made the said tweet.
Some other fact-checks produced by the CDD are:
Other News from the Centre for Democracy and Development
In the past week, the CDD in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Kaduna State Peace Commission (KSPC) organised a stakeholders’ meeting on farmer-herder relations and banditry in Kaduna State.
At the meeting, stakeholders raised various issues including the use of minors by cattle owners as herders, the importance of ranching policies in quelling the crisis between farmers and herders and the need for the media to be involved in peacebuilding across states in Nigeria.