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FACT CHECK: Did Aisha Buhari fracture her leg while trying to physically assault a student arrested over a Twitter post

By Fact ChecksNo Comments

CLAIM: Several blog post has claimed that the wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha Buhari, allegedly sustained injuries while physically abusing a student at the Federal University, Dutse, Aminu Adamu Muhammed, who was arrested over a Twitter post.

VERDICT: Insufficient Evidence

VERIFICATION:Checks revealed that the student was remanded in prison after being arraigned at the FCT High Court No. 14 in Abuja on Tuesday, 29th November 2022 for cyberstalking and defamation against the First Lady.

Even though Adamu Mohammed pleaded not guilty, he was sent to the Suleja correctional centre without a bail option. He was allegedly arrested on the orders of the First Lady due to a tweet he made in June. He tweeted in the Hausa language that the First Lady was feeding fat on the poor people’s money. The tweet read, “Su mama Anchi Kudin Talakawa an koshi,” meaning, “Mama has fed fat on poor people’s money.”

The 500-level student was picked up from his school two weeks ago and taken straight to the Presidential Villa where he was allegedly brutalized, beaten, maltreated, and humiliated by the police suspected to be men belonging to the Department of State Services.

Available information shows that Aisha is among five witnesses assembled by the prosecution to testify against Adamu Mohammed in court, with the police alleging that the offense bordering on defamation and cyberstalking, contravened Section 391 of the Penal Code.

The one-count charge against the student marked: CR/89/2022, and dated November 23, reads,  “That you Aminu Adamu, male of Anguwar Sarakuna, Bauch, Bauchi state sometime between May – June 2022 within the jurisdiction of this Honorable court did intentionally open a Twitter Handle with the name @aminullahie Catalyst and screenshot the image of Her Excellency Hajia Aisha Buhari and wrote on it in the Hausa language ‘Su mama anchi kudi talakawa ankoshi’ roughly translated to the English language to mean ‘mama has embezzled monies meant for the poor to satisfaction’ and posted same on your above Twitter handle for the members of the public to read, knowing same to be false and capable of affecting her reputation. You thereby committed an offense punishable under Section 391 of the penal code.”

The defendant is to be remanded in Suleja Prison pending the hearing and determination of his bail application.

CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers cannot confirm the authenticity of the claim due to insufficient evidence. Aminu Adamu Muhammed, who was arrested over a Twitter post defaming the first lady has however been charged to court and is to be remanded at the Suleja Prison in Abuja.

FACT CHECK: Did the APC Presidential Candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu meet with the US President, Joe Biden?

By Fact ChecksNo Comments

CLAIM: A picture has gone viral on social media platforms of the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu meeting with President Joe Biden in the United States.

VERDICT: FALSE

VERIFICATION: A reverse image search on the photograph revealed the original image was taken when the Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, visited Joe Biden on July 26th, 2021, a step toward winding down the two prolonged military engagements that began in the years following the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has also denied the meeting, adding that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s 2023 presidential candidate was in Abuja at the time, and not in the United States as speculated.

A statement issued was issued on November 30th, 2022 by the Director of Media and Publicity for the APC campaign council, Bayo Onanuga, where he disclosed that the viral picture is photoshopped and attributed it to the followers of Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP).

The statement reads, “A viral photograph showing Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and United States President, Joe Biden, in talks at the White House is the latest in the series of misinformation being dished out by the political opposition.

“We cannot just fathom the purpose of the mischief and the falsehood, which emanated from the rabid followers of Peter Obi.

“The apparently photo-shopped image surfaced Tuesday night, on the heels of news that Asiwaju Tinubu will embark on a foreign trip this weekend.

“Although America was listed among his destinations, according to an unofficial report that was widely shared, we can confirm that the APC presidential candidate was in Abuja all through Tuesday. He was in Abuja on Monday as well, and has no need to surreptitiously leave Nigeria, like some candidates do.

“Tinubu will be travelling to Bayelsa for a rally on Thursday, according to the party’s campaign programme. He is not scheduled to travel outside the country until the weekend for speaking engagements. His first port of call will be Chatham House in London, where he will speak on his Action Plan for Nigeria.”

CONCLUSION: CDD FactCheckers can confirm the claim to be false. The All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) has denied the meeting, adding that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s 2023 presidential candidate was in Abuja at the time the photo was making rounds on the media, and not in the United States as speculated.

Is It True That The UN Warned Nigeria And Other Africans To Be Wary Of Job Offers In The Middle East?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: A screenshot taken from what looks like a blog post has been circulating online. It suggests that the United Nations has warned Nigerians and other Africans to avoid accepting jobs in the Middle East.

The claim reads: “A Kidney now costs 262,000 dollars; Heart, 119,000 dollars UN warns Nigerians, other Africans to be wary of job offers in the middle east.”

FACT-CHECKING PROCESS: Investigations by Fact-Checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development show that the claim is false.

A keyword search revealed the information first surfaced online in 2019 and has been subsequently shared via several social media channels with different headlines.

The first time it was shared online, the originators claimed it was from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) with the link of the UNODC attached to the information to make it convincing to their audience.

Interestingly, the UN debunked the claim in March 2021 but the same message is still circulating across social media platforms, albeit, with some additions to make it look different from the original message.

The UNODC Pakistan also confirmed that the purported alert in 2019 is false, did not originate from the UNODC, and contains out-of-date information unrelated to their current activities.

Additionally, there is no related document alerting about organ trafficking on the UN office on drugs and crime website.

A fact-check by PesaCheck in March 2021 on the same document found the alert to be false.

Furthermore, the archived statement on organ trafficking on the website of UNODC covering from 2017 until August 2022 said that the need for transplantation of healthy organs into those who have failed organs has increased as such illicit means are being used to harvest human organs.

CONCLUSION: CDD can confirm that the claim suggesting that the United Nations has warned Nigerians and other Africans from accepting job offers in the Middle East for the fear of their organs being harvested is false and meant to mislead unsuspecting members of the public.

FACT CHECK: Did T.Y Danjuma Donate Private Jet To #ObiDatti Campaign as Widely Circulated?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

CLAIM: T.Y Danjuma has donated a private Jet to #ObiDatti campaign.

CONTEXT: A viral tweet that has been shared by several times on Twitter and blogs claimed that General T.Y Danjuma (Rtd) donated a private jet to the ObiDatti campaign in support of the Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, and his running mate Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed. The tweet reads,

“Grateful to Gen T.Y Danjuma (Rtd) for his generous donation of his Challenger 605 Bombardier private jet, for the #ObiDatti2023 campaigns. A true patriot and elder statesman.”

VERIFICATION: Our partners at Daily Trust reached out to the author of the tweet via a message but he did not respond. However, a member of ObiDatti media team Dr. Ibrahim Biu, told Daily Trust that the news is fake and urged people to be careful of what they believe and share.

The Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, also rebuffed the claim in a tweet, saying he had never received such an offer.

“Recently, several social media reports have alluded that some eminent Nigerians have donated their personal jets for my use during my campaign. In as much as I appreciate the expression of such hopes, I have never received any of such offer.

“I pray that those eminent Nigerians mentioned, are not unduly distracted by such social media utterances. May God Almighty bless those eminent Nigerians always,” he wrote

Conclusion: Daily Trust can confirm that the tweet claiming that T.Y Danjuma donated a private jet to the ObiDatti campaign is false.

Source: CDD

Is Australia giving out Visa sponsored jobs?

By Fact ChecksNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: A WhatsApp message has been circulating with a link suggesting that Australia is giving out 195 thousand jobs for 2023/2024 with visa sponsorship.

The link https://workpo.com/Australia/ attached was described as the workforce Australia official website claiming the government of Australia is looking for national and international applicants.

FACT-CHECKING PROCESS: A fact check carried out by the Centre for Democracy and Development revealed that the message is false.

Fact-checkers at CDD followed the link and the first thing that was off is how the number of applicants kept increasing by hundreds in seconds.

The first step of starting the application was filling an application form which includes the applicant’s name, phone number, email address, home address and nationality.

The next page was asking for educational qualifications to proceed.

Interestingly, the last page carries an Australia sponsorship visa and jobs portal for 2022/2033 contradicting the first page. Also, the page carried a congratulatory message saying the applicant is qualified to work and asked that the link be shared with five WhatsApp groups or fifteen WhatsApp contacts to proceed.

Another interesting part is for every time the link is loaded the number of applicants goes down and starts counting up.

CONCLUSION: Fact-checkers at CDD can confirm that the link is fraudulent, which was created to lure unemployed and desperate citizens who want to leave the country.

The official website for workforce Australia is https://www.dewr.gov.au/workforce-australia and there was no such thing found on the website.

FACT CHECK: Were #EndSARS protesters not killed at Lekki tollgate as MC Oluomo claimed?

By Fact ChecksNo Comments
Source: Vanguard News

CLAIM: At a rally supporting Bola Tinubu and Jide Sanwo-Olu’s bids for the presidency and governorship in Lagos, the Chair of the state’s Parks and Garages Management Committee, Musiliu Akinsanya claimed that no one was killed on October 20th at Lekki Tollgate during the #EndSARS protests.  

CONTEXT: Addressing a large crowd during the protests, Akinsanya, popularly known as MC Oluomo, claimed that there were no protesters killed during the protests at the Lekki Tollgate. He further attributed the allegations to campaigns by Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, who are contesting for the presidency alongside Tinubu. He stated:

“Where are the bodies and where are they buried? Do they have relatives in Nigeria? Has Nigeria bribed the mothers of the deceased protesters? Why are their siblings not searching for them, even on social media? Or is Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu a Chief of Army Staff or President who will order the killing of protesters at the Lekki tollgate?

“They’re lying to us, they want to undermine the Yorubas, everyone should come out. It is a political game. It was Atiku and Obi that conspired to do all those things then.”

VERIFICATION: Our partners at Daily Trust have been able to determine evidence that discredits the claim by MC Oluomo.

Firstly, the Judicial Panel of Inquiry set up by the Lagos State Government to probe the shooting at the tollgate determined that at least 11 persons were killed during the peaceful demonstration at the Lekki Tollgate and another four missing and presumed dead.

Secondly, in an interview with Cable News Network (CNN), Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu confirmed that two protesters died. He is quoted as having said that

“Two dead bodies, that is what we have seen from all the morgues, that’s what we have seen going to hospitals, that’s what we have seen as a record….”

There are many reports, from protesters who took videos and photos, describing the shootings as a massacre. CNN also released an investigative report that showed a timeline of activities leading to the shootings at the tollgate.

There is clearly no indisputable evidence – the Federal Government insists that no shootings took place – but there are areas of accepted culpability by the state and independent reports that show that there were shootings and fatalities as a result of incidents at the Lekki Tollgate.

CONCLUSION:  Protesters were killed at the Lekki Tollgate as a result of the #EndSARS protests, which counters the claims made by MC Oluomo.

FACT CHECK: Is Steve Harvey in Nigeria to Show Support for Peter Obi?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

CLAIM: Steve Harvey in Nigeria to show support for Peter Obi

Source: Entertainment Weekly

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: A viral post on Facebook states that well-known American entertainer, Steve Harvey, is in Nigeria to support Peter Obi in the forthcoming elections.  The post was shared from a blog stating

“The American actor who described Obi as someone he believes so much in is Nigeria alongside his family and will tour some selected tourist sites including castles where slaves were kept. This will expose him to Nigeria and African history and culture.”

The Facebook post has accumulated over 9,900 likes with over 2,500 comments and 706 shares as at the time of this report.

Verification: CDD fact-checkers revealed that the information is false. A Google reverse search showed that the picture used on the website and the Facebook page was originally shared by the actor and TV host on March 2022 on his official Instagram account tagging the location ‘Abu Dhabi’ and captioned the post “switched location to ABU DHABI”.

Source: CDD

However, CDD further checked his verified social media accounts to confirm if he made an announcement to support Peter Obi or if he was in Nigeria to campaign for the Labour Party’s presidential nominee but nothing indicated that.

FACT CHECK: CNN Picture Listing Shettima as APC Presidential Candidate Fake

By Fact CheckNo Comments

CLAIM: The picture of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nominee, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was substituted with that of the party’s vice-presidential nominee, Kashim Shettima, as the party’s presidential candidate during a news transmission

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: Gist Reel, a Nigerian blog with over 350,000 followers on Twitter, tweeted that the picture of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential nominee, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was substituted with that of the party’s vice-presidential nominee, Kashim Shettima, as the party’s presidential nominee during a news transmission on the Cable Network News (CNN) recently.

The post had an embedded CNN logo and a scrollbar under, depicting the picture was taken while the news was being transmitted live. This was not the same with the presidential nominees of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP) and New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

VERIFICATION: In verifying claim, our partners at Daily Trust carried out a Google reverse image search which revealed that the image first appeared on the internet before the official presidential list was released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Further checks by Daily Trust showed that CNN did not transmit the said broadcast, and did not post any image on their official website or verified accounts on social media.

CONCLUSION: Daily Trust can confirm that the claim made through a Twitter post suggesting that CNN has excluded the picture of Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the list of presidential candidates of Nigeria is false.

FACT CHECK: Is the Newly Circulated Tinubu’s Manifesto Authentic?

By Fact CheckNo Comments

CLAIM: A manifesto belonging to the Bola Ahmed Tinubu, presidential nominee of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming general elections, has resurfaced on social media.

Source: Head Topics

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: Media Aide to the PDP presidential nominee, Atiku Abubakar, Demola Olarewaju, had publicized the controversial document on September 21, 2022, via his handle, @DemolaRewaju. The post reads:

“Just got Tinubu’s manifesto, making him the second major candidate to release a document of his plans for Nigeria.”

“Skimmed through and noticed two other names as the author of the document, Femi Pedro and Babatunde Ogala…very strange. Won’t be sharing though, I’m biased, yes.”

VERIFICATION: Preliminary findings by our partners at Daily Trust revealed that the 29-page document titled, “My Vision for Nigeria”, was first circulated in June.

Bayo Onanuga, Director of Media and Communication for the Tinubu Campaign Organisation, stated [AA3]  that what was being peddled online, mostly via WhatsApp and Facebook, was not the manifesto of the APC presidential candidate. He stated that the document was a mere draft of suggestions on probable programmes Tinubu could implement if elected in February 2023. Also, he stated that the committee constituted to prepare the manifesto has not unveiled it to the public.

One of the signatories to the alleged manifesto, Ogala, also confirmed that the viral document was just a compilation of suggested ideas packaged by friends. He said,

“It is not Tinubu’s manifesto but personal input by a group of friends. How it found its way into the media is what I don’t know. It becomes a manifesto when it is eventually put together and doesn’t carry anybody’s name but the candidate’s imprint.”

CONCLUSION: Daily Trust can confirm that the purported manifesto being touted as that of the APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, is false. Several stakeholders at different times in the past had asserted that the document was only a draft and had not been endorsed by Tinubu.

FACT CHECK: Is the Viral Chicago University Scholarship Application True?

By Fact Checks, UncategorizedNo Comments

CLAIM: The University of Chicago is offering fully funded scholarships for the 2022/2023 academic session to interested undergraduates, Masters and PhD students who want to study in the United State.

CONTEXT: A trending WhatsApp post claims that the University of Chicago is offering fully funded scholarships for the 2022/2023 academic session to interested undergraduates, Masters and PhD students who want to study in the United States.

According to the post which provided an application link, eligibility requires that the prospective students are either applying to study in the undergraduates, Masters or PhD categories, should be between the ages of 14 and 40 and should be able to read ad write.

It listed full tuition fees, medical allowance, COVID-19, instant visa approval, permission to work and study, and hostel accommodation as benefits of the programme.

VERIFICATION: To verify the authenticity of the scheme, our partners at Daily Trust clicked the link which led to a phishing site with the requirement to share the news to WhatsApp contacts, a strategy synonymous with scam schemes.

Further analysis of the official websites, clearly indicated the proper method of getting financial aid as it states

“International students are eligible for financial aid only if they apply for funding during the admissions process, and will not be eligible for financial aid after receiving their admissions decision or during their four years in the College.”

CONCLUSION: While it is true that the University of Chicago offers scholarships in form of financial aid, it is instructive to note that the application link contained in the viral WhatsApp post is suspect as it leads to a phishing site.

FACT CHECK: Is it true Shekarau’s Shura shared ‘N100m largesse’ from Atiku?

By Fact ChecksNo Comments

CLAIM: On Monday, a picture of some persons said to be members of Shura, the advisory council of Senator Ibrahim Shekarau’s political movement, seated in front of a huge sum of money trended on social media.

In the picture, bunches of N1,000 notes were seen scattered on a long table while two women and about eight men sat on chairs lined around the table.
An online news platform had said the money was part of the largesse shared by former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, who received Shekarau back into the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) last month.

VERIFICATION: Checks by Daily Trust showed that the report is misleading. When Atiku visited Kano alongside his running mate and top chieftains of the party in late August, some of his other activities aside from welcoming Shekarau who had dumped the New Nigeria Peoples Party for PDP were widely reported in the media.

Atiku had donated money to some victims of the flood disasters and building collapse in Kano, which was reported by various media platforms.

Contacted to react to the trending picture, the spokesman for Shekarau, Dr Sule Ya’u Sule, said it was unfortunate that the picture would be used to rubbish the good intention of Atiku to the victims.

He said the picture was taken and shared by the media team of Shekarau to show the transparent approach adopted in sharing the donated money to the victims of Kantin Kwari flood disaster and those of the building collapse at the Beirut road GSM Market.

“N50m was donated to Kantin Kwari, N10m to Beirut road and N20m to Ulamas. And the sharing was done in the open in Shekarau’s house to show transparency and it was unfortunate that some individuals on social media and some media houses have decided to use the picture to create fake news,” he said.

Also speaking, the Public Relations Officer of Kantin Kwari Market Association, Aminu Garba Sofa, told Daily Trust Shekarau had presented the cheque of N50 million donated to flood victims in the market and that a committee was immediately set up to see to its distribution, adding that the money was cashed and given to them at Shekarau’s Mudunbawa residence.

“Three committees were set up to oversee the activity; one from Shekara’u side, one from affected victims and the other from market Association forming 15-men committee. The money was distributed accordingly after screening of the affected victims.

“397 persons were screened and given each accordingly. You know, N50 million is nothing compared to the loss but everybody out of that number has received (money) in presence of all representatives of the three committees,” he said.

Also speaking in a live video posted on Facebook on Friday, the Chairman, Kantin Kwari Market, Salisu Wada Sharu, who was seen in a viral picture at the residence of Shekarau, confirmed that they had received the money and distributed to those affected.

He however said some of the flood victims did not collect the money, saying they had surrendered the loss to the will of God.

Conclusion: There’s no evidence to show that the money seen in the viral picture is a largesse from Atiku.

FACT CHECK: Is The NCDC Disbursing COVID-19 Survival Funds To Nigerians?

By Fact ChecksNo Comments

CLAIM: The NCDC is disbursing COVID-19 survival funds to Nigerians.

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: A message purportedly from the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, is currently making the rounds on Whatsapp. The message alleged that the DG was available to authorize payments from the COVID-19 survival funds.

Part of the message reads: “…Congrats! You have been selected and qualified for N80,000 survival funds from the Federal Government Program.” After revealing the approved banks to include FCMB, Keystone, Union, Unity, TAJ and Zenith banks, it also urged beneficiaries to drop their account numbers and contact one Mr Ken Balogun on a phone number provided.

FACT-CHECKING PROCESS: Background checks by fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development revealed that it is not the first time this kind of claim, especially as regards the disbursement of COVID-19 relief funds, will flood the internet.

In April 2022, Daily Trust also fact-checked some of these claims and found them to be false. This is in addition to former fact checks of this nature conducted by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD). Similarly, the research also showed that such adverts and notices are issued specifically by fraudsters to defraud unsuspecting members of the public.

NCDC is the national public health institute for Nigeria. It is a federal government agency under the Federal Ministry of Health, with its headquarters in Abuja. The agency’s goal is to protect Nigerians from the impact of communicable diseases through the coordination of public health preparedness, surveillance, laboratory, and response functions for all infectious diseases.

Fact-checkers also found out in the course of investigating the claim that, those perpetrating this fraud have changed their antics to include varying the amounts they claim are to be paid to beneficiaries and giving the alleged grant different names.

Last year, the Federal Government of Nigeria warned Nigerians to be wary of fraudulent messages making the rounds over a purported payment of N80,000 to beneficiaries of the Survival Fund Scheme.

Further research showed that there is no official message or communication from the Dr Ifedayo Adetifa or his office authorizing such payments. It could also be noticed from the WhatsApp message in circulation, that the NCDC DG’s name was not spelt correctly, which confirmed doubts as to the authenticity of the viral post.

CONCLUSION: Facts at our disposal negate the claim that the Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Ifedayo Adetifa, is disbursing N80,000 as a COVID-19 survival fund to Nigerians.

Members of the general public are advised to be cautious and ask questions from informed individuals when in doubt and they should also be wary of sharing their bank account details with unknown persons as fraudsters have perfected ways to defraud citizens, the world over.

Was The Pilot Who Supplies Weapons to Bandits Arrested in Niger State?

By Fact ChecksNo Comments
Source: HumAngle

VERDICT: False and Misleading

CLAIM: On August 26, 2022, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a claim on Facebook and several blogposts, including NairaLand, with the caption: “Pilot who supplies weapon to bandits has been arrested in Niger State, North Central Nigeria. The claim added that the Indigenous people of Niger state arrested Juan Remy, a helicopter pilot, who supplies weapons to bandits. Another claim to the image alleged that the former head of state, General Abubakar Abudlsalami own the bandits’ helicopter.

FACT: Nigeria is facing one of her worse security challenges in history, with Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, Banditry in the Northwest and Central and other militia groups in the South of the country. This is not the first time, claim of other National’s involvement in supplying weapons to Nigeria will trend online. 

CDD fact-checkers investigated the claim, using google reverse image search, and TinEye to verify the origin of the images of the supposed arrest. Evidence from the findings reveal the image first appeared online between May 10 and 11, 2021, where the Central African army arrested a man of French nationality, aged around fifty, with weapons and other artillery in Bangui the capital of Chad.  Juan Remy Quignolot’s was arrested in May 2021 in the Central African Republic after an arms stockpile was found in his house.

When contacted, the State Commissioner of Police, (CP) Monday Bala Kurya, through the Police Public Relation Officer DSP Wasiu A Abiodun, in a press release confirmed that no foreign nationale distributing weapons to Bandits was arrested in Niger State. He described the report as a piece of Fake News that such incidents never occurred in the state.

He called on members of the public to disregard such report as it aims at crating unnecessary chaos in the public domain.

CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm the claim the incidence happened in Central African Republic (CAR), where a French Nationale was arrested over allegations of stockpiling weapons in his house. But the claim that the French Nationale was arrested by locals for supplying weapons to Bandits in Niger State, North Central of Nigeria, is False

CDD is urging members of the public verify claims online before sharing same; especially news report from bloggers, who are in the habit of using sensational headlines to draw traffic to their blogs.

FACT CHECK: Was INEC Former ICT Director Demoted As Charly Boy Claimed?

By Fact Checks, UncategorizedNo Comments

CLAIM: The former ICT director at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters, Engr Chidi Nwafor, has been demoted by the commission.

VERDICT: False

CONTEXT: A controversial entertainer and convener of the ‘OurMumuDonDo’ movement, Charles Chukwuemeka Oputa, alias Charly boy or Area Fada, has claimed in a very lengthy post on Facebook that the former Director of ICT at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters, Engr Chidi Nwafor, has been demoted by the commission.

The post partly reads:

“…Instead of promoting the brain behind this electoral innovation, he was demoted and transferred to Enugu as Administrative Secretary just six months to the election. Is Prof Mahmood and INEC ready for a free and fair election in 2023 (sic)? There are already doubts. Please share to create massive awareness about this ugly development.”

VERIFICATION: Checks by Daily Trust revealed that on August 16, INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Barr Festus Okoye, had in a brief statement disclosed the commission’s continuity with the routine deployment of top officials, including two Resident Electoral Cin commissioners (RECs) and eight directorate level staff members.

INEC redeployed 385 employees nationwide to ensure efficient and optimal performance in March. The affected workers were either serving in their states of origin or had worked between 10 and 32 years in the same state.

Perusing the statement issued by Festus Okoye, one could easily find that Engr Chidi was not the only director redeployed, as seven other directors were also affected by the shakeup. Reacting to Nwafor’s redeployment, Prof. Mohammad Kuna, the Special Adviser to the INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu said the exercise was normal. He made this known during a panel discussion at a two-day workshop theme, ‘The role and impact of digital technologies in facilitating peaceful elections in Nigeria’ organised by the National Peace Committee (NPC), headed by a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) and The Kukah Centre in Abuja recently.

Contrary to the claim by Charly boy that the former ICT director of INEC, Nwafor, was demoted, Daily Trust can confirm that the claim is false as he is still a director with INEC as categorized by the Nigeria Civil Service Commission. Nwafor was only redeployed from one department to another. In addition, the post of administrative secretary is a directorate-level position.