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.
CLAIM: The NCDC is disbursing COVID-19 survival funds to Nigerians.
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.
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.
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.
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 imagefirst 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.
CLAIM: The former ICT director at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) headquarters, Engr Chidi Nwafor, has been demoted by the commission.
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.
CLAIM: 10 Nigerian states have larger Gross Domestic Product (GDPs) than some African nations.
CONTEXT: Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo while receiving a group of Harvard Business School students at the State House in Abuja, urged the international community not to compare Nigeria to some smaller African countries in terms of economy. His statement read,
“When they talk about the economy, we are often compared with smaller African countries, but there are 10 states in Nigeria that have bigger GDPs than those countries; it is a huge target market.”
VERIFICATION: To verify the claim by the vice president, our partners at Daily Trust checked the GDPs of the 54 African countries, including Nigeria, and compared them with the GDPs of some economically viable states in Nigeria
Available data from World Bank-based size show that Nigeria leads the continent with an accumulated GDP of $514bn. Nigeria is closely followed by South Africa with $420bn, Egypt with N404bn, Algeria with N168bn, Ethiopia with $111bn, and Kenya with $110bn.
The statistics showed that African countries with GDP below $2bn include Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Comoros, Seychelles, Sao Tome and Principe.
Although there is no data on the current GDP of states in Nigeria, a 2017 nominal GDP report cited shows that the GDPs of 22 states stood at about $149bn out of the $375bn GDP of Nigeria.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the nominal GDP of the 22 states accounted for about 56 per cent of the 45 countries’ entire GDP. The NBS report reads in part:
“In 2017, the nominal GDP for the 22 states (for which data is currently available) stood at N63.8trn or 56 per cent of Nigeria’s nominal GDP in that year.
In comparing the GDP figures of some Nigerian states to some African countries using the last figures obtained from the NBS, it is clear that indeed the GDPs of some states are bigger than those of some countries.
For instance, the report in 2017 indicated that the GDP figures of 22 states was nominal $149bn, which represents $7bn per state.
Consequently, this shows that the GDPs of states like Lagos, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Kano, Imo, Delta, Kaduna and few others as mentioned by NBS are bigger than the GDPs of some countries which have GDPs of less than $5bn.
To further verify the claim our partners spoke to some experts including,
An economist and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Global Analytics Consulting Ltd, Dr Tope Fasua, confirmed the claim of the vice president, saying some Nigerian states had GDPs larger than some African countries.
Speaking to Daily Trust, he said, “Yes; the GDPs of Lagos, Rivers and a few other states may be larger than those of countries like the Gambia and a handful of other African countries. So it is a fact.
“In 2014, Minister Okonjo Iweala informed us that the FAAC allocation of Akwa Ibom State alone was the entire budget of Liberia. We could say the eight Nigerian states with the highest GDPs fall in this category.”
Similarly, The Chief Economic Strategist at the ECOWAS Commission, Prof Ken Ife, told Daily Trust,
“As of 2021, Nigeria’s GDP at $514b was more than 38 African countries put together. The 10 top Nigerian states with GDP totalling $148.1bn was more than those of 24 African countries, while Lagos with GDP of $29bn was more than nine African countries’ GDP.”
CONCLUSION: Following verifications and experts’ views, Daily Trust concludes that the claim by the vice president is true as there are states in Nigeria that have large GDPs due to their economic viability.
CONTEXT: Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, has claimed that there are enough doctors in Nigeria. During a press conference, he made the assertion in Abuja on Tuesday, August 23, 2022. He said,
“…We have heard complaints of doctors who are now leaving the system, but there are actually enough doctors in the system because we are producing up to 2,000 or 3,000 doctors every year in the country and the number leaving is less than 1,000.”
CLAIM 1: Does Nigeria have enough doctors?
VERIFICATION: Checks by our partners at Daily Trust revealed that data from the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003 reported that three doctors were available to attend to 10,000 patients in the country. The recent report by WHO revealed that the ratio has increased to 10,000 people for four (4) doctors, signalling an increase in the doctor-patient ratio. However, WHO recommends 1 (one) doctor per 600 patients as the best doctor-patient ratio. The report captures African countries with better doctors-patient ratios than Nigeria, including Mauritius, Cape Verde, Tunisia, Egypt, etc. It also captures African countries with fewer doctors than Nigeria, including Angola, Kenya, Chad, Mali, etc.
Also, in an address by the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA) President, Innocent Ujah, during the virtual eighth biennial and scientific conference and annual general meeting of the Medical Women Association of Nigeria (MWAN), Kaduna state chapter, the president noted,
“the current doctor to population ratio in the country is about one doctor to between 4,000 and 5,000 population.This falls short of the one doctor to 600 population as recommended by the World Health Organisation. This means that we need about 303,333 medical doctors now, and at least 10,605 new doctors annually to bridge the manpower gap in the health sector,” he said.
Another survey conducted by the Nigeria Health Watch and NOI Polls showed that Nigeria has a deficit of qualified doctors and needs at least 237,000 doctors to ensure the population’s health needs are adequately catered for.
CLAIM 2: Number of doctors leaving Nigeria each year less than 1,000?
VERIFICATION: Estimation points out that no fewer than 2,000 doctors leave Nigeria yearly, with at least 8,983 Nigerian-trained medics currently working with the British National Health Service in the United Kingdom.
The General Medical Council of the United Kingdom website reveals that Nigeria has the third highest number of foreign doctors working in the UK, coming behind only India and Pakistan. It also shows that the number of foreign doctors working in the UK shows that no fewer than 727 medical doctors trained in Nigeria relocated to the United Kingdom alone and licensed between December 2021 and May 2022.
Recently, data from the Medical and Dental Consultants Association of Nigeria, MDCAN, revealed that the total number of doctors that have migrated to the UK in two years is nearly 9,000, while the total in the United States is about 3,895. This means that about 6,447 Nigerian doctors relocated to the UK and the US in each year.
CLAIM 3: Is Nigeria producing up to 2,000 or 3,000 doctors each year?
Verdict: Insufficient Evidence
VERIFICATION: Last year, the president of the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA), Innocent Ujah commented on the brain drain in the health sector hinted that the nation produced between 3,000 and 3,500 doctors annually. He said,
“…This is particularly disturbing because Nigeria only graduates about 3,000 to 3,500 medical doctors across medical schools in the country annually.”
We do not have sufficient evidence to independently confirm this claim as no database keeps track of the number of doctors produced annually in the country.
CLAIM: American billionaire, Larry Ellison, donated about $1m to the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi.
CONTEXT: A news platform recently reported that American billionaire, Larry Ellison, donated about $1m to the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi. The story posted on the news platform’s Facebook page reads:
“American billionaire Larry Ellison donates 1m$ to “Peter Obi’s presidential campaign, offers to build “Plane Manufacturing Company” in Nigeria if Peter Obi wins.”
VERIFICATION: In verifying the claims, our partners at Daily Trust combed through the billionaire’s official social media pages but saw no announcement of such donations or promise of building a plane manufacturing company if Peter Obi wins the 2023 presidential election.
Checks also showed that hat the last time Ellison tweeted was on 06 June 2012 and no major news outlets in Nigeria and the United States reported the donation.
Based on checks by Daily Trust, there was no announcement or statement by Ellison on donations to Obi’s campaign. As such, the claim cannot be verified to be true
CLAIM: Cameroon’s senate president is Atiku Abubakar’s elder brother
CLAIM: A screenshot has been making the rounds on social media claiming that the presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s elder brother is Cameroon’s senate president, Marcel Niat Njifenji. The image had the caption, “Nigeria for Nigerians, never again will a foreigner rule this country.”
Accompanying write-ups on the image read,
“The man with white cap is the Senate President of CAMEROON.”
“THIS IS ATIKU ABUBAKAR ELDER BROTHER AND HIS THE SENATE PRESIDENT IN THE CAMEROON SENIOR PARLIAMENT.”
FACT-CHECKING PROCESS: A close look at the write-up on the screenshot reveals another layer of writing, “since 1980” under the letters typed in upper case. This discovery already casted doubt as to the authenticity of the claim.
This is because further research on Cameroon as a country showed that, though it got her independence from France in 1960, the Senate was created in 1996 after an amendment to the constitution.
However, power to convene the Electoral College and call elections for the Senate remained with the President. President Paul Biya chose not to do so until he signed decree 2013/056 on 27 February 2013, which set 14 April as the election date. Marcel Niat Njifenji was elected as President of the Senate on 12 June 2013 and is still in office after winning a reelection on March 18, 2021.
Is Marcel Atiku’s Brother?
Marcel Niat Njifenji was born in Bangangté, located in Cameroon’s West Region. Bangangté is a town and commune in Cameroon. It is the capital of the Ndé division of West Region. The town is primarily inhabited by the people of the Bamiléké tribe.
On the other hand, Atiku Abubakar was born in Jada, a village which was then under the administration of the British Cameroons – the territory later joined with the Federation of Nigeria in 1961 British Cameroons referendum.
His father, Garba Abubakar, was a Fulani trader and farmer, and his mother was Aisha Kande. His grandfather, Atiku Abdulqadir hails from Wurno, Sokoto state and migrated to Kojoli village at Jada, Adamawa state, while his maternal grandfather, Inuwa Dutse migrated to Jada, Adamawa State from Dutse, Jigawa state.
He became the only child of his parents when his only sister died at infancy.
CONCLUSION: Relying on several sources and available data, CDD can confirm that both claims that Cameroon has had a senate president since 1960 and that Cameroon’s Senate President, Marcel Niat Njifenji is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar’s brother are both false and should be disregarded by the members of the public.
Claim: CDD spotted a claim on Twitter by a user who claimed that Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had won the Osun State Governorship election, defeating the incumbent All Progressives Congress (APC), without a Member in the State Assembly. The tweet has already garnered 1,201 retweets, 69 quotes tweets, and 3,412 likes reads
“In Osun, PDP won with no single PDP member in the state assembly. The people voted & waited to count & protect their votes. Indeed the people are the authentic structure.”
Fact Check: CDD fact checkers reviewed the election results of 2019 general elections released by the Independent National Election Commission (INEC). The 2019 Osun State House of Assembly election was held on March 9, 2019, to elect members of the State House of Assembly. Following the declaration of results, the APC won 23 out of 26 State constituencies, leaving the PDP, with 3 seats.
In conclusion, CDD can reliably confirm that PDP has three members in the Osun State House of Assembly as at the time, the governorship election was conducted. Therefore, the claim is false and should be disregarded. CDD advises Nigerians to be wary of social media posts, especially as we head to the general elections in 2023.
CLAIM: On August 29, 2022, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a claim with the caption “Isaac Fayose, the younger brother to the former Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose narrowly escaped death by the whiskers from gunmen attacks along Ife-Ibadan Highway, Gbongan in Osun State.”
FACT: CDD fact-checkers look at asserting the validity of the claim, and reached out to the SP Opalola Yemisi Olawoyin Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) in Osun state where a press statement which was released on the 30th of August where it was confirmed that no such incident was reported in any part of the State.
The statement further says that “the Command contacted Mr Isaac Fayose to get his perspective on what transpired while he was on transit from Ekiti to Lagos State, He said “at a point after Asejire Dam, towards Ibadan, he saw some travellers make a U-turn for fear of being attacked by presumed Armed Robbers and in his own attempt to make a U-turn, he had a minor accident. He stated further that, he did not see the purported kidnappers, nor was anyone injured nor abducted from the scene.
CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the said claim that Isaac Fayose Narrowly escaped death is False
CDD is urging members of the public to verify from certified source before sharing any news report especially, from a random WhatsApp status
CLAIM: William Ruto, president-elect Kenya won the recent election with a newly formed party.
CONTEXT: A post being shared on social media states that the newly elected President of Kenya, William Ruto won the election despite forming a new party and not having any support from powerful men but the youth. The post further said
“Don’t listen to them that say your vote won’t count, let’s take back our country from these old evil men using 18 billion just to clear farmland.”
Fact check by the CDD revealed that William Ruto did not win under a newly formed party as suggested by the post.
However, his political career on Wikipedia states that he won under a new party and that may have misled many to assume that the United Democratic Alliance Kenya is a new party formed by Ruto which is not correct.
Ruto indeed won the election under the United Democratic Alliance (UDA). Which is a Kenyan political party initially called the Party of Development and Reforms which was created in February 2012 and was changed to UDA in December 2020 and became notable in January 2021.
Conclusion: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the claim suggesting William Ruto won under a newly formed party is misleading.
CLAIM: Top two government leaders of the same faith can be traced to the then-military regime of Muhammed Buhari (1983 – 1985)
CONTEXT: Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Rev. Fr. Mathew Kukah, said precedence for the current Muslim-Muslim ticket of the All Progressives Congress (APC) could be traced to the legacy of Muhammadu Buhari when he was military head of state.
Bishop Kukah stated this when he appeared on Politics Today, a programme on Channels Television, on Thursday, to discuss the state of the nation ahead of the 2023 general elections.
VERIFICATION: In verifying Bishop Kukah’s claim, Daily Trust traced the origin of the same faith rule/regime to the military era. Both Maj-Gen. J.T.U Aguiyi-Ironsi and his deputy, Brig. Babafemi Ogundipe (Jan – Jul 1966) were Christians. Similarly, both Gen. Yakubu Gowon and his deputy, Vice-Admiral Joseph Edet Wey (1966 – 1975) were also Christians. The military regime of Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Maj-Gen Tunde Idiagbon, while being the first both led by Muslims, was only the third same-faith leadership pairing in Nigerian history.
CONCLUSION: Daily Trust was able to establish those previous military regimes before then Maj-Gen Buhari had same faith tickets. As such the claim by Bishop Kukah that Buhari initiated the same-faith leadership is wrong.
CLAIM: Kenyan President-Elect, William Ruto, didn’t have a political structure just like Nigerian Labour Party presidential nominee Peter Obi.
While comparing Kenyan President-Elect William Ruto with Nigeria’s Labour Party presidential nominee, Peter Obi, a twitter account owned by the username, Prof. Chris Mustapha Nwaokobia Jnr, on Tuesday tweeted,
“Those betting on the sustenance of the OLD should X-ray the victory of the STRUCTURE-LESS Ruto over the STRUCTURE-FULL Odinga in Kenya. Africa is Rising and Nigeria MUST Rise. WE MOVE, WE WIN.”
In verifying the claim, our partners at Daily Trust considered that Ruto’s political party structure, The United Democratic Alliance (UDA), is one of the founding parties of the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, a new alliance formed and registered in January 2021.
Also, we considered the number of political offices held. Ruto was a member of parliament from 1998 to 2013, served as minister for home affairs in the Moi administration (August – December 2002), minister of agriculture in the Kibaki administration (2008 – 2010) and minister for higher education (April – October 2010). He was also elected as deputy president with incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2013 and will succeed his boss when he is sworn in later this year.
CONCLUSION: Having reviewed Ruto’s political journey and sustained prominence in appointed and elective positions, it is misleading to say that he doesn’t have a political structure as claimed by Prof. Nwaokobia Jnr.
Le phénomène de propagation des informations mensongères à travers les écosystèmes d’informations en Afrique de l’Ouest s’amplifie. Bien que rendu possible par l’accès croissant aux réseaux sociaux et à Internet dans la région, le flux d’informations fallacieuses n’est pas simplement limité aux espaces en ligne, mais circule entre les environnements hors ligne et numériques, et ce, régulièrement et facilement. Ainsi, dès qu’une rumeur est lancée par un influenceur en ligne sur Facebook et qu’elle devient une tendance, cette rumeur peut faire l’objet de débats et de discussions dans des émissions de télévision ou de radio, ce qui élargit son audience. Ces débats, à leur tour, font ensuite l’objet de discussions et de débats dans des lieux de rassemblement tels que les marchés, les bases des atayahs, les lieux de rassemblement des motos-taxis ou les grins1 qui leur permettent de circuler à travers des réseaux bien établis de rumeurs par le bouche- à-oreille. Pour compléter le cycle, ces rumeurs hors ligne peuvent ensuite être transposées en ligne et peuvent être davantage biaisées dans le but de désinformer ou simplement de renforcer une information mensongère déjà en circulation.
La manière dont les informations circulent entre les réseaux en ligne et hors ligne permettent de mieux comprendre comment les informations fallacieuses se propagent et influencent les actions en Afrique de l’Ouest. Il en va de même pour la confiance. L’information que l’on considère comme provenant d’une source digne de confiance – que ce soit la source d’origine de l’information ou la personne qui l’a partagée en dernier – est essentielle pour déterminer ce qui est vrai ou faux, et si cette information se conforme à des idées reçues et à des préjugés existants. Ces deux critères deviennent de plus en plus évidents pour tous ceux qui participent à la Les études par pays ont identifié sept acteurs clés impliqués dans la diffusion d’informations mensongères et leurs effets dans les domaines de la politique, de la santé et de la cohésion sociale. Ces acteurs sont des militants politiques, des influenceurs en ligne, l’État, des entreprises médiatiques, des sociétés de conseil spécialisées, la diaspora et des États étrangers. Si le rapport entre la propriété des médias et la politique en Afrique de l’Ouest a toujours favorisé la circulation d’informations fallacieuses, le nombre croissant d’utilisateurs des réseaux sociaux dans la région donne une place privilégiée aux influenceurs en ligne et à la diaspora qui dispose d’une audience numérique importante et souvent réceptive. Pendant les élections, la lutte pour exercer une influence sur ce public en ligne est amplifiée, les acteurs politiques recrutant de plus en plus de « cyber- guerriers » nationaux ou de spécialistes de la communication régionale et internationale pour obtenir un avantage électoral.
Les réponses au phénomène grandissant de la prolifération des informations fallacieuses dans l’écosystème de l’information rencontrent des difficultés du fait que non seulement l’État n’est pas un acteur impartial, mais qu’il participe également à la diffusion et à la création d’informations mensongères ou dans la restriction égoïste des flux d’information en ligne. Néanmoins, il existe également des exemples d’interventions gouvernementales plus bénéfiques sur le plan social dans l’écosystème de l’information. Pendant la pandémie de la Covid-19, on a observé des exemples de pays qui faisaient des efforts pour rendre plus transparentes les informations sur les initiatives de santé publique.
CLAIM: Nigerian universities are better than their foreign counterparts.
CONTEXT: The senior special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, stated his belief that Nigeria’s universities are good enough and even better than their foreign counterparts. While commenting at the graduation of Glisten International Academy Abuja, Mallam Shehu, who was also a parent of a graduate, asserted his belief that ‘Nigerian universities are equally as good and even better than foreign institutions.
VERIFICATION: Nigerian universities do not feature highly on all university rankings. Most of these rankings use various criteria, including teaching, research capacity, international diversity, sustainable funding and alumni stature. Most rankings place the highest ranked Nigerian universities in the 1001-1250 category, which is well below the top spots that are occupied by foreign universities.
Sadly, most universities in Nigeria are public-owned and affected by strikes carried out by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.
WHY WE FACT CHECKED THIS: This claim was fact-checked to provide facts to claims made by public office holders to improve the reputation of their office.
CLAIM: CDD spotted a trending story online, that Elon Musk, the entrepreneur who achieved global fame as the chief executive officer (CEO) of electric autos maker Tesla Inc. (TSLA) and CEO of the private space company is set to unveil his new hotel in Mars. The story on social media and blogs claimed that the world’s richest man is set to open soon his latest investment, a hotel, in Mars. According to the message with the accompanied image claimed a night rate at the hotel will be $5 million.
Fact Check: In verifying the claim, we verified the image using the fact checking tool, Tineye; a reverse image search engine that allows one to search by image. The result revealed that the image was first uploaded online by venturebeat.com as a proposed model of lab biomes Interstellar, which is expected to be built on Mojave Desert, Mars. The website has a trailer video of Interstellar Labs future, where the image appeared.
However, Elon Musk Trust is the owner of SpaceX, a Space Exploration Technologies Corp, which became famous after it first big headline, when it became the first private company to launch a payload into orbit and return it to Earth intact—something only government agencies like NASA or Russia’s Roscosmos had done before. In 2020 Musk claimed that SpaceX will put a million people on Mars by 2050, there has been no recent claim of this on Elon’s official twitter page or on trustworthy news site. Since its first crewed flight in 2020, SpaceX has continued to launch astronauts to the International Space Station and return them home to Earth as part of a partnership with NASA.
Fact checkers searched through Elon Musk’s social media and information platforms, including his verified Twitter account, with 102.7 million followers and cannot find any post relating to an hotel in Mars.
In conclusion, we can confirm that the posts and reports claiming that Elon Musk will soon open a hotel in Mars, which is expected to cost $5 million a night is false. With this check, CDD continues to provide the global community with facts to make informed choices; therefore, advises citizens against peddling false information.
CLAIM: Peter Obi claimed that Nigeria has about 100 players in NBA.
CONTEXT: Responding to a question posed during an interview on Politics Today, a Programme on Channels Television, the Labour Party presidential candidate replying to a question on why he is focused on supporting the youth, said
“…proud, celebrating their talent. And this is what we have everywhere. If you go into the American NBA, out of 150 players, almost 100 are Nigerians. These youths are so talented that they are where you need to focus to reach their talent and productive energy to turn around the country…”
VERIFICATION: Our partners at Daily Trust have clarified where the misconception behind this claim might have come from. Teams in the U.S invite unregistered or young players, referred to as rookies, to their training camps so that the coaching staff can evaluate their performance and select their active roster. However, actual registered NBA players are restricted to 15 players on each of the 30 teams which adds up to 450 players, of which Nigeria only has 10.
Relying on available data, we can confirm that Nigeria does not have about 100 players in the NBA as claimed by Peter Obi. In fact, no country or continent has produced up to that number since the inception of the league. Therefore, the claim by Obi is false in its entirety.
WHY WE FACT-CHECKED THIS: Several presidential candidates have been peddling fake news in a bid to support their campaign. This claim was fact-checked to provide facts to Nigerian citizens.
CLAIM: All executive members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State have defected to the APC.
CONTEXT: A twitter account, purportedly belonging to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Kwara State chapter, tweeted that all executive members of the state opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had defected to their party.
VERIFICATION: Our partners at Daily Trust could not find the names of said PDP decampees on the aforementioned Twitter handle. Furthermore, findings showed that although some former executive members of the Peoples Democratic Party defected to the All Progressives Congress. in June 2022, none of them was a current member of the party’s state. The decampees cited the achievements of Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as the rationale behind their defection.
Most of the decampees during that period were members of the Kwara State PDP Transformation Movement a group formed with the aim of fighting for the right of PDP members who are thought to be maltreated by the party which included former executives of the opposition party and former political office holders.
CONTEXT: In a one-hour exclusive interview on Arise TV, the former Vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar made several claims that are fact-check worthy.
CLAIM 1: Atiku claimed that the power generation capacity in 1999 was 4,000MW.
CONTEXT: The rights activist and presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore claimed that the former President Olusegun Obasanjo-led administration failed to solve the nation’s electricity problems to which the former Vice President of Nigeria responded “When we came in 1999, the total generation (capacity) was about 4,000 Megawatts. We initiated the building of nine additional power stations and by the time those nine were finished, the capacity has gone up from 4,000 Megawatts to about 13,000 Megawatts.
VERIFICATION: Responding to a letter from the House of Representatives Committee on Power and Steel, probing the expenditure in the power sector between 1999 and 2007, then President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote in a letter dated 12 May, 2008, that his administration inherited an installed capacity of 6,000 Megawatts even though only 1500MW was being generated.
CLAIM 2: 90% of Nigerians from the northern part of the country are not on social media.
VERDICT: Insufficient Evidence
CONTEXT: Atiku, while expressing his thoughts on Peter Obi’s chances in next year’s presidential election, said 90% of Nigerians from the northern part of the country are not on social media.
“…They were saying through social media, that they have more than one million votes in Osun State but how many people voted for Labour Party? And there again mark you, you are talking about social media, in the North 90 per cent of our people are not tuned to social media,” .
VERIFICATION: To verify the claim, our partners at Daily Trust explored the Statista database which asserts that 110 million of an estimated 200 million Nigerians have access to the internet, with 53.15 million on social media as of 2022.
Following a check of the culmination of followers that Atiku and Peter Obi has on the three main social media platforms, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, it was evident that Atiku has way more followers on social media than Peter Obi.
Several twitter and Facebook profiles are dedicated to Hausa, the most common language in the northern part of Nigeria such as BBC News Hausa, Premium Times Hausa. Although one can safely say that there is a higher number of social media users in the South compared to the North following a report by National Bureau of Statistics which puts the number of active internet subscription in the North at 68.5m and the South at 77m. This indirectly translates to active social media users as its one of the key uses of data subscription unlike Atiku’s claim that has no known data supporting his assertion that 90 per cent of Northerners are not on social media. Hence the basis of Atiku’s claim is unfounded.
WHY WE FACT-CHECKED THIS: CDD fact-checked these claims to help the electorate hold politicians accountable during the electoral season
CONTEXT: A former aviation minister and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Femi Fani Kayode popularly known as FFK, recently took to his Twitter handle to say that the federal high court, appeal court and the supreme court are all headed by Christians. The tweet has since gathered thousands of engagements.
CLAIM 1: Southwest had 4 immediate past governors who are Muslims
VERIFICATION: In verifying the Minister’s claim, our partners at Daily Trust sought to find out the immediate past governors in the Southwest before the ones currently governing the state.
Findings show that In Oyo State, late senator Abiola Ajimobi, a Muslim was the immediate past governor before Mr. Seyi Makinde came on board.
In Lagos State, Mr Akinwumi Ambode, a Christian was the immediate past governor before Babajide Sanwolu, also a Christian took over.
In Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun, a current senator was the immediate past governor of the state. He is a Muslim and has governed the state for eight years before Mr Dapo Abiodun, a Christian took over.
In Osun State, the tenure of Mr Gboyega Oyetola (a Muslim) will be coming to an end in November this year following his inability to get a return ticket as he was defeated in the July 2022 governorship elections by Senator Ademola Adeleke, who is a Christian.
In Ekiti, former Governor Ayodele Fayose, a Christian, was the immediate past governor of the state who completed his two terms in office before the incumbent, Dr Kayode Fayemi, also a Christian took over the mantle of leadership.
In Ondo State, the immediate past governor of the state, Olusegun Mimiko, a Christian was succeeded by Rotimi Akeredolu, the incumbent governor who is a Christian.
Following previous records, the claim that South West had four Muslim governors before the incumbents is not true as the former governors who are Muslims are three namely; Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Abiola Ajimobi of Oyo State and Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun State.
CLAIM 2: All heads of the judiciary are Christians
VERIFICATION: Checks by Daily Trust has shown that Justice John T. Tsoho who was appointed as the Chief Judge of the federal high court is a Christian.
He was appointed by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019.
Similarly, Hon. Justice Monica Dongban-Mensem, a Christian is Nigeria’s current president of the Appeal court. She was appointed in June 2020 by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Similarly, President Muhammadu Buhari in June this year swore in Hon. Justice Olukayode Ariwoola as the acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, although the president has recently sent his name to the National Assembly to be confirmed as the substantive CJN.
Justice Ariwoola, who is a Muslim by virtue of the being the CJN, heads the Supreme court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
While the Federal High court and Appeal courts are headed by Christians, the Supreme court is headed by a Muslim who doubles as the current Chief Justice of Nigeria, as such the claim by Fani Kayode is FALSE.