The spread of disinformation in Nigeria take various forms and changes from time to time. Depending on the kind of information shared, WhatsApp has remained the most popular social media platform in Nigeria followed by Facebook and recently Twitter.
Countering fake news in Nigeria has it challenges, prominent among them is the lack of digital literacy among many internet users. The failure of institutions and organizations to respond to request for clarifications if and when the need arise. Despite this challenges, fact- checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) have strived to provide the facts on trending claims that are false.
This past week, some of claims reviewed and countered by CDD include:
FACT-CHECK: Kano Lawmaker Not Beaten By Constituent Members Over Failed Promises
On October 25, 2020, the CDD spotted a post by Sahara Reporters, Naturenex, and Pinnacle report claiming that the lawmaker representing Tofa, Dawakin Tofa, Rimin Gado Federal Constituency, Tijjani Jobe, was beaten by members of his constituency.
The reports claimed that Jobe had visited Gulu community in his constituency when youths in the area attacked him over non-performance and his failure to fulfil his campaign promises to the people.
Photographs used by the blogs for the story showed the sweating lawmaker surrounded by many people.
However, investigations by CDD shows that the claim by the blogs that Honourable Jobe was attacked and beaten by members of his constituency is false.
Jobe, who is the Chairman of the House Committee on Rural Development, was on an oversight visit on Rimin Gado – Gulu road for an ongoing project he sponsored.
Our findings show that shortly after the lawmaker had inspected the ongoing road construction, he proceeded to his hometown, Jobe, where he was met by thousands of people who thronged his residence. He was also said to have started sharing money to the people upon his arrival in Jobe.
An eye witness, Yusuf Gajida, who is also a farmer in Jobe community told CDD that Jobe was not beaten by his constituent members as widely claimed.
“I swear to God nothing of that nature happened, he visited and left peacefully, in fact he received a warm welcome,” Gadija said.
Also speaking on the matter, Ibrahim Yaro, a personal assistant to the lawmaker said the crowd of people were outside the premises waiting in anticipation for Jobe’s arrival.
According to Yaro, the lawmaker had immediately ordered that the security at the gate allow the people entry into his residence for his welcome.
Read full fact check here
FACT-CHECK: Kano Government Did Not Rename France Road
On Thursday, November 5, 2020, a viral WhatsApp broadcast claimed that the Kano State Government had renamed a France Road to Madina Road.
Thea broadcast produced in Hausa language and shared across various WhatsApp groups, said the renaming of the popular France Road followed an alleged blasphemous comment made by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron.
The broadcast while commending the State Government for renaming the France Road, encouraged citizens of Kano to adhere to the new name.
Investigations carried out by fact-checkers at CDD shows that the claim that France Road was renamed by the Kano State Government is false.
A visit to the popular France Road in Kano by the CDD fact-check team shows that there is nothing to indicate a change of name for the location.
Also, reacting to the claim, the commissioner for information in Kano, Muhammad Garba, said the state government has not renamed the road.
Garba said: “There is no official statement regarding any change of name, my governor is not around but at the moment no any official statement
Read full fact here
FACT-CHECK: Is the INEC Chairman Handing Over to an Acting Chairman?
On Friday, November 6, 2020, a blog ejegist published a report with the claim that the current Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, will hand over to an Acting Chairman on Monday, November 9.
The report quoting the Daily Trust Newspaper further claimed that Prof. Yakubu will be handing over to one of the National Commissioners whose tenure has not expired.
An investigation of the claim by CDD fact-checkers revealed the narrative that Prof. Yakubu Mahmood will on Monday, November 9, handover power to an Acting INEC Chairman is true.
Also, the INEC National Commissioner in charge of Voter Education and Publicity, Barr Festus Okoye, told fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) that the Chairman will be stepping aside till he is confirmed for a second term by the Nigerian Senate.
He said ‘’The Chairman will exit the Commission on Monday the 9th of November 2020. Constitutionally his tenure expires by effluxion of time on Monday, November 9, 2020. He will handover to one of the National Commissioners pending his confirmation and swearing-in for a second and final term. The Chairman is a stickler to constitutionalism and will also abide by constitutional tenets.
Read full fact check here
FACT-CHECK: WHO Director-General Did Not Announce Testing Positive To COVID-19
On November 2, 2020, multiple blogs published breaking news with the headline “WHO DG, Tedros Ghebreyesus Tests Positive For COVID-19’’. The reports claim Dr. Tedros announced his Coronavirus (COVID-19) positive status on his Twitter handle @DrTedros.
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus never said he tested positive to COVID-19 on his Twitter handle.
The Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO) had tweeted on Sunday November 1, 2020 that he was self-quarantining after he came in contact with someone who tested positive to COVID-19.
Dr Tedros in the tweet which is now referenced by the blogs never mentioned that he tested positive to the virus, the WHO DG only stressed that he had no symptoms after his contact with a COVID-19 positive person.
Read full fact check report here
CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity of stories before sharing them.
You can forward suspicious messages for verification via +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica
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