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ECOWAS Fake News Reports

FACT CHECK: Are Gun-Wielding Protesters in Viral Video Fulani’s from Nigeria?

By Blog, Cohesion, ECOWAS Fake News Reports, Fact Check, Fake News, Human RightsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim:

A 30-second video has gone viral across various social media platforms with the caption “Fulani is ready, are you.”

The video shows women and men wielding guns and chanting in an unfamiliar language. The lead singer holds a microphone with a flag attached to her veil.

Verification Process

Checks by CDD/Daily Trust revealed that the video first appeared online on 12th March, 2022 in a Facebook post tagged as “raising disciples, training indigenous missionaries involved in rehabilitation of destitute children.”

Another post on Facebook was made condemning the video with the caption “why can’t these dancing women be educated for future building; the community leaders should be arrested immediately.”

Another post was made using the same video which suggested that the Fulanis are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people.

The post whose caption was written in Yoruba read, “Please take note, the Fulani are giving guns to their women to kill Yoruba people. We need to pray that we don’t have all these political jobbers again. We need to let political jobbers know that there won’t be an election in Yorubaland! Our safety is paramount at this point. #Freedom #Yorubanation.”

This triggered comments as many people alleged that the Fulanis were responsible for the massacre at a Catholic Church in Owo, Ondo State, weeks ago.

However, going by the flag seen in the video it appeared that the protesters are of an ethnic group in Ethiopia called the Afar and scattered across Ethiopia, Eritrea and Djibouti.

The Afar people belong to an ethnic group that has been clamoring for an independent nation for almost half a century now and has a Facebook page: “Afar People’s Force” which is active with multiple videos similar to the viral one.

Conclusion

CDD/Daily Trust can confirm that the video in circulation was not made in Nigeria and the claim that the people in the video are Fulanis from Nigeria is false.

FACT CHECK: Is NCDC Disbursing COVID-19 Funds?

By Blog, ECOWAS Fake News Reports, Fact Check, Funding TrendsNo Comments

A WhatsApp message shared in many groups claimed that the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) is disbursing Covid-19 funds to Nigerians.

The message asked Nigerians to call a particular number to get N75,000 from the agency.

The WhatsApp message reads, “CONGRATULATIONS. DUE TO THE COVID19  YOU HAVE JUST WON N75,000 FROM NCDC. CALL MR EMMANUEL 0807352**** FOR CLAIMS NOW.”

Another message reads “Congratulations N80,000 have (sic) been approved by the federal government to you lucky Nigerian due to PANDEMIC. Drop your account number.”

Is the claim true?

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, federal state and local governments have been distributing palliatives to citizens to cushion the effect of the pandemic. To complement the efforts of the government, the private sector has also donated billions of naira under Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19 (CACOVID).

One of those interventions by the federal government, according to Minister of State, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum, is MSME Survival Fund Scheme.

The funds were disbursed in five modes under the Nigeria Economic Sustainability Plan (NESP) approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) in July 2020.

They include: Payroll Support Scheme, Artisan and Transport Scheme, Formalization Support Scheme, General MSME Grants and Guaranteed Off-take Scheme.

She said the federal government had so far disbursed N56.8 billion and individuals were selected based on merit.

Similarly, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced a N50 billion Targeted Credit Facility (TCF) in March 2020 as part of a stimulus package to help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy and businesses.

The TCF was to support households and micro, small, and medium enterprises affected by the pandemic.

However, there has not been anytime that the federal government through the NCDC shared cash prices to Nigerians.

On its Twitter handle, the NCDC has debunked the claim of distributing cash to Nigerians, describing it as “fake news”

The NCDC also urged Nigerians to disregard the message as it is aimed at defrauding innocent Nigerians.

Conclusion: Although the federal government has rolled out several Interventions to cushion the effect of COVID-19 pandemic, the NCDC is not disbursing Covid-19 funds to Nigeria. Hence, the viral WhatsApp message is false.

GUINEA BISSAU’S FAKE NEWS ECOSYSTEM: An Overview

By ECOWAS Fake News Reports, Publications

Guinea-Bissau has faced cyclical instability and insecurity for the last two decades.
These episodes of political breakdown have ranged in scale, from armed attempts to overthrow the president, to assassination plots, to countless extra-judicial imprisonments and beatings.

The country has become infamous for the fact that successive elected governments and heads of state have not been able to complete their mandates. To compound this bleak timeline, since 2003, it has been known as a “narco-state” due to the heavy involvement of state and military officials in the drug trade. But what is unique is that in Guinea-Bissau’s case, despite all the intra-elite fighting and violent struggles for power as well as the ineffective state is that “there are no outbreaks of large-scale violence across broader society”.

Furthermore, citizens are rarely directly targeted during those power struggles, as they are not co-opted in the violence, nor are they casualties. In fact, with the ongoing cyclical violence within its political elite, and very few prospects of economic growth and development, Guinean society had become politically disenfranchised and removed from conversations about politics. Yet, increased civic activism really began to take place in the more recent years following a long period of relative apathy by its population.

The Gambia’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

By ECOWAS Fake News ReportsNo Comments

For the Gambia, we look at the fake news ecosystem through the eyes of Sait Matty Jaw, who doubles as the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Research and Policy Development and political science lecturer at the University of the Gambia.

Sait’s Center for Research and Policy Development is a partner of CDD and one of the earliest organisations to take up fact-checking in the Gambia.

The study highlights how misinformation and disinformation are shaping the post-Jammeh era in Gambia and obfuscating the transition from dictatorship to democracy. It links fake news in the Gambia to politics and shows how political players leverage social media tools to shape public opinion by spreading disinformation.

Interestingly, the report places Gambia’s diaspora among the movers and shakers in the country’s fake news ecosystem. Leaning on propagandist antecedents honed during the activism of the Jammeh days, the diaspora has transitioned to more politically partisan views and are launching information campaigns from both sides of the political divide.

It is symbolic that we are releasing this report just ahead of the Gambia’s general election of December 4 2021. We understand that the timing of this research has increased the readiness of the Center for Research and Policy Development towards the important work of fact-checking election-related disinformation in the coming week.

Download the report here!

This report is part of our ECOWAS Fake News Reports. Missed the other reports in the series? Catch up below:

Liberia’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview