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FACT CHECK: Was A Mermaid Caught In Nigeria As Claimed In Viral Facebook Post?

By Blog, Fact Check, Lifestyle, NewsNo Comments

A viral post on a Facebook page, O. W. Entertainment, claimed that a mermaid was caught by some brave people who initially went fishing in a river in Nigeria.

The post is captioned: “BREAKING NEWS…mamiwater (river goddess) caught in Nigeria…my beautiful people how Una see this matter because this nor be FOTO shoot ooo.

In the three-minute video which showed an embedded video of a purported black mermaid, a middle-aged man who identified himself as David said many people didn’t believe that mermaids existed or believed they were white and not black.

He also claimed, among others, that the journey to catch the mermaid was not an easy one as it had been disturbing residents of the area for a long time.

The video as of Thursday morning had garnered more than 10,000 likes and other emojis, 5,200 comments, 16,000 shares and 1.4 million views.

Comments on the post showed that some viewers actually believed the video contains mermaid. Many viewers “thanked God” for subduing the “spirit” while others urged that it should be released before those in the “mermaid kingdom” came to look for the missing mermaid.

This na another problem them won invite join the wahala dey Nigeria. Abeg make them return her in peace and apologize because they will be looking for her now. Na pesi pikin,” one comment read.

“O nature se mermaid is real, I only watch it in films, this is so scary o…so na Mami water na we de eat no bi fish…this must be the spirit of water I think… God is great hmmm, wonderful God,” another viewer stated.

Analyzing the video

A search by Daily Trust revealed that a Kenyan television station had tweeted about the video, saying “Reports indicating that a mermaid has been spotted in Kwale are fake, police say.” Kwale is located in Kenya.

A further check on the video showed that the earliest version was posted on TikTok on April 6, 2022 on TikTok and captioned, “Real Mermaid Caught in Muizenberg South Africa.”

Checks by our correspondent revealed that video was doctored. It is a digitally altered composite featuring genuine footage of a dying fish and digitally added images of what appears to be a doll.

A close examination of the footage showed that sand loses texture as the arms of the purported mermaid moved across the beach. At one point, the fingers even disappeared, indicating that the “mermaid’s body” was digitally inserted into this footage.

What are mermaids?

In folklore, a mermaid is an aquatic creature with the head and upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish. Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including Europe, Asia and Africa. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events such as floods, storms, shipwrecks, and drowning. In other folk traditions (or sometimes within the same traditions), they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.

The male equivalent of the mermaid is the merman, also a familiar figure in folklore and heraldry. Although traditions about and sighting of mermen are less common than those of mermaids, they are generally assumed to co-exist with their female counterparts. The male and the female collectively are sometimes referred to as “merfolk or merpeople.”

Are mermaids real?

In 2012, the television channel Animal Planet aired a show claiming to establish that mermaids are real. The programme was filmed to appear to be a documentary, complete with interviews with “scientists” (paid actors) and phone-camera footage. Though the show carried a very brief disclaimer that it was a work of fiction, many viewers took it as a proof of mermaids’ existence.

A month after the programme aired, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration posted a statement on its website denouncing the supposed existence of the half-human, half-fish beings. “No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found,” the post read.

CONCLUSION: The video did not originate from Nigeria as claimed and did not show a mermaid. There is no compelling evidence that mermaids (popularly called Mami Water) are real. Their existence still remains a myth.

This fact check was done in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).

FACT CHECK: Tinubu Makes Fresh Claim on PVC Expiry Date, Is This True?

By Fact Check, Fact Checks, News, PublicaitonsNo Comments

In a video that has gone viral, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and national leader of the party, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, claimed that voters would need to revalidate their Permanent Voters Cards (PVC) in order to be able to vote in the 2023 general elections.

It is the second time in three months Tinubu will be making such a claim which elicited response from the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC).

Tinubu made the recent claim while addressing supporters at a rally held to support his presidential ambition at the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Onikan, Lagos, on Saturday, April 16, 2022.

Among those who graced the event include Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, his deputy, Obafemi Hamzat, Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, APC National Youth Leader, Dayo Israel, and youth leaders across South-western states.

While urging those who have not registered to do so, the former Lagos State governor told his audience to go and revalidate their PVCs, saying the cards might have expired.

He said, “If you have no PVC, if you have no revalidation of that PVC, you don’t know whether it has expired. Don’t forget that there is expiry date even on your cashpoint so go and revalidate the card. Those of you who have not registered must go there. You can’t be part of 1.4 billion people on Instagram and have no card for God’s sake.”

The video which was posted by one of the major newspapers (not Daily Trust) on its verified Instagram handle had garnered 37,864 views and 1, 565 likes earlier on Monday.

Tinubu had while addressing a delegation of APC women who paid him a visit in Abuja few months ago alleged that PVCs currently in the possession of Nigerians had expired, prompting INEC to counter the claim.

The Chief Press Secretary to the INEC Chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, had while debunking the claim, said PVC is valid as long as it is not defaced, adding that double registration is an offence under the law.

“A PVC does not have an expiry date on it, therefore, it does not expire. As long as the security chip on it is not damaged, it remains valid. But if the chip is damaged, the holder can apply for a replacement,” Oyekanmi had said.

“Nigerians who already have their PVCs do not need to register again. In fact, double registration is an offence under our laws.

“Eligible Nigerians are entitled to register only once. Once a name appears in the national register of voters, it stays there permanently.

“One of the very few instances where a name could be removed from the register is if strong and verifiable proof that the person bearing the name has died,” he added.

Tinubu afterwards tendered an apology in a statement by his Media Aide, Tunde Rahman.

In a message obtained from the INEC website, the Chairman of the Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, said registered voters could renew their PVCs in the Continuous Voter’s Registration (CVR) exercise if their cards were missing or defaced.

A defaced card means that either the information printed on the cards has washed off or the security chip on it is damaged.

Also, unlike the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards which have expiry dates printed on them, a look at both the front and the back of a PVC shows that it does not have an expiry date.

CONCLUSION: The claim by Tinubu that PVCs have an expiry date is false and should be disregarded.

This fact check was done in partnership with the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD)

FACT CHECK: Did Adamu Garba Say Boko Haram, Bandits Are Freedom Fighters of Northern Nigeria?

By Fake News, NewsNo Comments

CLAIM:

A photo of a former All Progressives Congress presidential aspirant, Adamu Garba, is currently circulating on WhatsApp. The image has the inscription, “Boko Haram and Fulani Bandits are Northern Nigeria Freedom Fighters – Adamu Garba.” Underneath the write-up, “Youth Progressive Party” is boldly written.

Adamu Garba

Verdict: FALSE

FACT:

Checks by Daily Trust revealed that the purported claim was published by some blogs and media outlets as far back as February 28, 2022.

A day earlier, Adamu Garba had in a series of tweet via his official Twitter handle, @adamugarba, described people of southern Nigeria as hypocrites, saying they have always been reluctant to condemn criminalities when carried out by people of the region; as against how they displayed outrage when perpetrators were northerners.

He tweeted, “It seems to me that we have the gift of status, position, respect, and money for those killing and destroying in the South, while we have bombs and bullets for those doing the same thing in the North.

“You see the hypocrisy in administering the conflict resolution in Nigeria?”

Further investigations showed that “Youth Progressive Party” written under the photo in circulation is not a registered political party in Nigeria and was crafted deliberately by mischief makers to hoodwink unsuspecting members of the public.

Garba had withdrawn from the presidential race due to the high cost of obtaining the APC expression of interest and nomination forms and the cost of running for political office. He later dumped the party and purchased the presidential nomination forms of the Young Progressive Party (YPP).

Scrutinizing all the tweets Garba made, one could not find where he explicitly said Boko Haram and Fulani Bandits are Northern Nigeria Freedom Fighters. His tweets were only insinuated to mean so.

CONCLUSION:

Based on available evidence, it is established that Garba did not make the claim as purported, and the Youth Progressive Party is not known in Nigeria as a political party as it is not registered with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Did Chidozie Nwankwo the AAC candidate step down to support Valentine Ozigbo the PDP candidate?

By Election, Fact Check, latest, NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: CDD came across news reports from championnews.com.ng, 247ureports.com, naijalumia.org and gistmaster.com with a claim that the candidate of African Action Congress (AAC) has stepped down from the governorship race to support the People Democratic Party (PDP) Candidate.

FACT CHECK PROCESS: In order to authenticate this sensitive allegation, CDD fact-checkers reached out to the campaign organization unit. CDD was able to contact Dr Chinedu Ifeakor, a member of the Chidozie Nwankwo (The AAC governorship candidate) campaign delegate who was able to confirm that the claim is false and that Chidozie Okonkwo is still running for governor with the African Action Congress (ACC).

CONCLUSION: CDD can confirm that the claims made by the various news outlets and blogs are false.

#CDDFACTCHECK

You can forward suspicious messages for verification via +2349062910568 or contact us on Twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

We have zero-tolerance for corruption in Cross River – Commissioner for Justice

By News
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Barrister Tanko Ashang, Cross River State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice

The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Cross River State, Barrister Tanko Ashang, on Monday, March 15, 2021, warned that the state has zero-tolerance for any form of corruption.

Ashang while speaking at a three-day monitoring and evaluation capacity-building workshop for Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in Calabar, Cross River State said the state is taking measures to ensure a clampdown on sharp practices across every sector of the state’s economy.

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The training was organised by the CDD in partnership with the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-corruption Reform (TUGAR) and with support from the MacArthur Foundation.

Carried out by the Human and Environmental Development Agency (HEDA), the CDD with TUGAR trained 31 officials from 12 ACAs including, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC); Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC); Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), The Presidential Initiative on Continuous Audit (PICA); Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR); Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI); Public Complaints Commission (PCC); Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering(SCUML) and Ministry of Justice, FCT.

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Participants at the training

Continuing Ashang said: “On behalf of my ministry, I would like to let you know that the Ministry of Justice and Cross River State has zero-tolerance for corruption.”

The commissioner also encouraged the participants and the general public to keep up with the good work of fighting corruption in Nigeria.

In a welcome address on behalf of Idayat Hassan, CDD’s Director, Emmanuel Akomaye, the Centre’s project consultant on anti-corruption said M&E is a process that helps determine progress in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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Akomaye said the CDD believes it is important to bring all the ACAs together for this capacity building workshop to have a balance within institutions, among the citizens, and the international anti-corruption environment, achieve proper evaluation in the fight against corruption and have a good record of the progress made in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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Participants carrying out a task during the training

In her address, the Director of TUGAR, Lilian Ekeanyanwu, commended the CDD for leading the initiative to organise the M&E capacity-building workshop for ACAs.

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Ekeanyanwu said the M&E training would address the gaps in the reportage of efforts made by various anti-corruption agencies in the country.

She encouraged the ACAs to always link their activities and work to the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NACS) with the hope to guarantee that the objectives of ridding Nigeria of corruption are achieved.

Also speaking, Atinuke Odukoya, an M&E expert with HEDA said in the fight against corruption, M&E is vital to addressing two major issues.

Listing the major issues, Odukoya said the first is transparency, through which visibility is given to anti-corruption efforts made by the ACAs while the second is on accountability, as every citizen deserves concrete reporting and knowledge of the ongoing fight against corruption.

How I Lost My Wife, 4 Children To Flood – 50-Year-Old Man Narrates In New Documentary

By Event, News

Muhammadu Y’au

For 50-years-old butcher, Muhammadu Kabiru Zakari Y’au, the effect of corruption in Nigeria and embezzlement of the Ecological Fund translates to the loss of his entire household.

Y’au, also known as Usama narrating his life-wrenching ordeal in a documentary; Ecological Funds and the Cost of Corruption in Nigeria, virtually screened on Monday, January 25, by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in collaboration with Action Aid Nigeria and Centre for Communication and Social Impact (CCSI), supported by Foreign Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO), said he had gone to the mosque to preach when it started raining.

“They tried calling me to no avail, I went home from the mosque and on getting to my neighbourhood, I saw the mishap caused by the rain,” Y’au said.

According to him, he had met a neighbour who told him that his wife and four kids had been washed away by the flood.

“On approaching my house, I noticed there was no house there anymore, just bare land. I was walking inside the water and the water was up to my chest level. I was going around looking for my family,” Y’au said.

Y’au said upon arrival, some of his brothers came to meet him. They started crying and he joined them in crying, still confused as they walked the community in search of his loved ones.

“We walked to the river all the way to a place near the road that leads to Bauchi. It was there we found the corpse of my daughter, later I got a call that they’ve found my wife’s body too somewhere behind the University of Jos,” he said.

The following day, more bodies were found and Y’au was called to confirm if they were his children.

He got there and recognized his children among the bodies laying on the ground. “I never found the corpse of my last child but some organisation said they found his corpse and buried him.”

“A day later, I got another call saying they found the dead bodies of my two children. When I lifted the wrapper, I recognized the bodies of Abdulamid and Hauwa’u (his two children),” an obviously broken Y’au narrates.

The story goes on and all and is the same for Francis Eriki, a retired Kogi State civil servant who used a major part of his salary and loan to build a three-bedroom apartment.

Eriki lost his life achievement – which took him six years to put together – in a flood.

Speaking on the incident, Eriki said: “The flood affected us, I lost everything.”

“All my labour in government; I took garri and kulikuli (a locally made snack) to see that that place becomes what it is. I suffered,” Eriki lamented.

The pain felt by Y’au and Eriki is as a result of the ecological challenges which could have been averted if the Ecological Funds are properly allocated and not mismanaged.

The Ecological fund is an intervention fund set up by the Nigerian Government in 1981, to tackle various environmental and ecological problems including natural disasters affecting the country.

The fund set up through the Federal Account Act, 1981, was based on the recommendation of the Okigbo Commission mandated to reduce ecological challenges nationwide to the barest minimum, facilitate quality and effective implementation of projects, judicious and equitable utilization of the fund and effective management of ecological fund projects.

The projects include flood, drought, desertification, oil spillage, pollution and general environmental pollution, storms, tornados, earthquakes, bush fires among many others.

In her opening remarks at the virtual screening of the documentary CDD’s Director, Idayat Hassan, represented by Shamsudeen Yusuf, the Centre’s Principal Programs Officer said the piece is part of the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C) project implemented by CDD, Action Aid Nigerian and Centre for Communication and Social Impact, as consortium members, and implementing partners.

Yusuf said the project seeks to address social norms that would usually aid corruption to thrive in Nigeria.

“One of the ways to do this is to generate a sustained conversation around day-to-day experiences of Nigerians around corruption, particularly on how it directly or indirectly affects them, and make a consistent call for transparency and accountability in the management of public resources such as the Ecological Funds,” Yusuf said.

He said the series of investigations carried out by the Ford Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), had shown that some of the projects carried out to solve some of the most urgent environmental challenges across the country were either shoddily done or not even done at all. These actions, he said, have caused several damages including loss of lives and property.

“In the documentary, we showcase how mismanagement and the susceptibility of the ecological funds to corruption impacts negatively on the socio-economic well-being of Nigerians,” he said.

He also said that the documentary is expected to spur conversation and strengthen accountability mechanisms for the effective utilization of the Funds for the betterment of the country.

In her contribution, representing Muhammed Umar, the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Hadiza Zubairu, said while work is ongoing, the agency appreciates the effort by CDD and her partners in bringing this aspect of corruption to the fore.

Zubairu who is EFCC’s Head, External Corporation said: It is rare because this has hardly brought to fore. The fight against corruption is a multi-stakeholders one and we at the EFCC loud the efforts to put into the documentary.”

Sam Waldock, Team Lead, Governance, and Social Stability, FCDO said: “I am very excited about this documentary because corruption can seem to be far from reality. We are really proud to support this.”

Also speaking, Ene Obi, the Country Director of Action Aid described the documentary and its details as chilling but the reality on the ground.

“We haven’t even gone to the Delta where people perch on rooftops. governance is supposed to be about taking care of the people. You have citizens who wake up in the middle of the night and can’t find their children and what do you do about it?” Obi said.

Decrying the disconnect between the government and the people being led, Obi said funds earmarked for environmental challenges have become part of the money stolen by authorities to meet their personal needs.

Speaking, a panelist, Idris Akinbajo, who is the Managing Editor of Premium Times said to tackle corruption in the management of environmental funds, citizens and the general public at large must be able to ask questions and get answers about how public funds were spent.

Akinbajo said: “There is a need to reflect on how funds allocated for environmental stewardship are managed.”

He said the secrecy surrounding the whole process is one of the major reason ecological funds is a pool of corruption. He called on the government at all levels to open their books if the fight against corruption is genuine.

“If the government is sincere about finding the problems in the ecological funds, it must publish the names of all those who have received which amount, for what and why. Dariye was convicted for stealing N2 billion, we need to show citizens that these are the real victims who were affected because he stole that money,” Idris added.

Further reeling out the Centre’s recommendation to ending the corruption in the system, CDD’s director said that there is a need to address the impunity that permeates the system.

“A system whereby public servants believe they are doing citizens a favour by releasing information. Aside from the insecurity and food security issues across the country mostly caused by activities of corrupt officials, the ripple effect of its consequences and embezzlement of the Ecological Fund is very glaring,” Hassan said.

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Experts Call for Improved African Representation on Climate Negotiation Table

By Event, News

As changes in climate and adverse weather conditions which have led to harsh livelihood continue to appear on the front burners of discussion, experts have called for collaboration among critical stakeholders to ensure adequate representation of the Africa continent on the climate negotiation table.

The call was made during a webinar organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa) on Thursday, January 21, 2021.

The webinar themed: The Impact of Climate Change in Africa, sort to address the increasing effect of climate change especially on the low-income populations who are likely to be most affected and vulnerable to these challenges.

Moderated by a Development Consultant, Jamie Hitchen, the webinar also sort need to promote the efforts undertaken at local, national, and regional levels to adapt or mitigate climate change, as well as encourage the government to review climate change policies or increase their efforts. 

In her opening remarks, CDD’s Director, Idayat Hassan, said the Centre appreciates the moderator, panelists, and participants who have made out time to be part of the event.

Speaking on the intricacies of climate change and the challenges faced in the African continent, Saratu Abiola, the lead, Economic Inclusion – Global Humanitarian Team at Oxfam, said while climate change is a problem not necessarily caused by human, we must continue to find ways to survive it through mitigation or adaptation processes.

Noting that these processes include financing, access to technology, policies, and strategies that improve survival, Abiola said the extreme weather conditions have become a reality.

 She said: “We look at questions like; how do we adapt to the changes that we are faced with due to climate change? Do farmers know the major challenges there would face like drought and what they could do to strengthen their livelihood?”

Addressing issues of environmental policies, Abiola said Nigeria has several good policies that have not been implemented and the same thing goes for climate change.

Stating that Mali and Burkina Faso have been making efforts to develop laws that could address the challenges of climate change, Abiola said: “We (Nigeria) have forestry laws that need to be updated and of course implemented.

“Our laws on violating laws such as gas flaring for example are as old as the 1960s. The oil companies can easily pay them so they wouldn’t mind,” Abiola said.

According to Abiola, many Nigerian lawmakers are disconnected from the effects of climate change and the reality.

She said: “A lot of our lawmakers don’t live in the communities and they don’t have a connection with the people resident in these communities; even those who live there do not have an understanding that what is happening is climate change.”

Also, she said several residents of communities affected by climate change see these challenges as a phenomenon from “God”.

On financing, she said notes that it is very difficult to get climate grants or finance as a majority of the countries in West Africa have to access climate finance through loans.

“Majority of the climate available right now goes to western countries. Only about 20% of climate funding in 2019 came to Africa,” she added.

Also speaking, Hindou Ibrahim, the coordinator of the Association of Peul Women and Autochthonous People of Chad, said the most glaring impact of climate change is the drying up of the Lake Chad region.

Ibrahim said the drying up of the Lake Chad region is one of the leading causes of food insecurity, social insecurity, and crisis in the region.

Ibrahim said: “Climate impact is making people poorer. Climate change is now leading to social injustice in West Africa. Our knowledge and understanding of climate change can help us create the best adaptation for our community.”

She said an understanding of patterns and possible outcome of the weather could help in planning and storage.

“This is what I do with my organisation by putting the traditional knowledge with the technology. I do this with collaboration from the meteorological agencies,” Ibrahim said.

“In parts of West Africa, the seasons are eco-systemic. Africans need to merge African knowledge with scientific knowledge to mitigate the impact of Climate change which will involve locals who are affected by this,” she said.

Ibrahim also decried the poor representation of African countries in climate negotiations.

“We have the numbers at the meetings but the voices are not strong enough to make any difference. Most countries see climate change as an issue for the Ministry of Environment. It is not, it is a case for all because climate change affects or impact all aspect of our lives,” Ibrahim said.

She further called for collaboration among Civil Society Organisations, the media, politicians, and other critical stakeholders to accelerate survival.

We Need Ranching Policies For Herders To Adopt – Farmers’ Association

By Event, News

All Farmers’ Association of Nigeria (AFAN) on Thursday, December 10, called for the creation of ranching policies for farmers and  herders to adopt across the country.

The association made the call at a 2-day Stakeholders’ Meeting on Farmer-Herder Relations And Banditry organised by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) and the Kaduna State Peace Commission (KSPC) in Kaduna State.

Speaking at the event, the chairman of AFAN, Alhaji Nuhu Aminu, said there is an urgent need to identify bandits who are posing as herders to cause mayhem in Kaduna State.

Nuhu also said: “We need to come up with ranching policies for herders to adopt.”

According to the AFAN chairman, such policy would help curb the growing crisis between herders and farmers alike.

Also speaking, CDD’s Principal Programs Officer, Shamsudeen Yusuf, who represented the Centre’s Director, Idayat Hassan, said that the stakeholders’ meeting is an avenue for all stakeholders to deliberate on the emerging concerns surrounding farmer-herder conflicts as well as the rising phenomenon of banditry in the State.

Yusuf said the meeting would also allow participants and parties involved to find solutions to improving the relationship between farmers and herders in the State.

He said: “We hope that with this meeting we can map out key areas of intervention and critical stakeholders in the conflict in order to with core issues that are central to the conflict between farmers and herders in Kaduna State.”

In his address, an expert on peacebuilding with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Dr. Chris Kwaja, commended the CDD for the platform which brought stakeholders’ together on the farmer-herder relations.

Dr. Kwaja also commended the people of Kaduna State for their resilience in peacebuilding in the state.

He said: On behalf of the USIP I want to first commend CDD for this very important engagement and second to commend the people of Kaduna state for your resilience. Despite all you’ve faced you have contributed your own quota and everything needed in keeping the peace in the state.”

Dr. Kwaja added: “I want to commend the Commissioner, Samuel Aruwan, for being active in making efforts to ensure that people understand why there has to be peace.”

The commissioner for Internal Security and Home Affairs in Kaduna State, Samuel Aruwan, said stakeholders on the matter will have to look at the way how the issue farmer-herder conflict metamorphosed into the level of crisis experience in the state and the country at large.

Aruwan said it is important to put into consideration issues of cattle rustling, banditry and all., youth restiveness, drug abuse, armed robbery rape among many others.

He also said that the crisis between herders and farmers does not have any religious or ethnic undertone.

“The government’s appeal has been for all residents to have recourse to the law. if a farmer in the course of farming comes under attack, or his/her plants/crops are destroyed, the admonition is to have recourse to the law,” Aruwan said.

“The same appeal goes to the herders, if in the course of grazing they are attacked or their cattle rustled, or they become victims of any security challenges,  unfortunately, most of individuals and communities involved in these clashes often choose self-help rather than the law,” Aruwan added.

According to the commissioner, the action of taking laws into their (farmers and herders) own hands complicates the conflict, and worsens the bloodshed.

“The media narrative is also often not helpful. When armed bandits kill innocent herders and farmers while attempting to kidnap for ransom, some media will report that it is an attack by herdsmen, thereby inflaming the violence between pastoralists and their hosts,” Aruwan continued.

Continuing, Aruwan said that the state had established a commission – the Kaduna State Peace Commission – in 2017 with the objective of ensuring the monitoring, mitigation and prevention of conflicts with a view to promoting peaceful and harmonious co-existence in the state.

Efforts made by the Commission so far

Reeling out efforts made by the Kaduna State Peace Commission, its commissioner, Hajia Khadija Hawaja, said while the farmer-herder conflict has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity as noted by Aruwan, some of the issues have been escalated.

She said: “The real issue, has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity but perception. For political reasons, probably, our elites created this phenomena of farmer-herder among people who have co-existed together for centuries.”

“They have escalated it to become and international issue which we must solve locally by doing everything possible to create a peaceful environment for every one of us,” Hajia Hawaja said.

She further said the peace commission working to make sure that where there is problem all parties are brought together to dialogue and find a common ground.

According to her, in trying to resolve the issues and improve farmer-herders relations, every party involved is respected and at all times allowed to air their views and grievances.

There is distrust, relationships have been broken and because relationships are broken a Christian would not want to go where a Muslim is and vice versa and the thinking of the people is towing towards division,” She added.

She said the commission helps the people to collapse walls and bridges built overtime and create a peaceful and harmonious environment by helping the parties identify what their problems are.

Also, Usaini Ori Musa, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture said the Kaduna State Government hopes that the grazing reserves will become the center of agropastoral innovations, a guarantor of land security, a nucleus for nomadic herders settlement among many others.

Also, Usaini Ori Musa, a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture said the Kaduna State Government hopes that the grazing reserves will become the center of agropastoral innovations, a guarantor of land security, a nucleus for nomadic herders settlement among many others.

Musa said to mitigate the farmer-herder conflict, the state government has 17 grazing reserves out of which four has been developed and gazette, while interested youths are encouraged to form cooperatives where they are trained and supported with loans and other incentives.

According to Musa, these cooperative activities help the youth remain gainfully employed and thereby reduces poverty and conflicts in the state.

Farmers/Herders: CDD To Provide Technical Support To Curb Conflict

By Event, Fact Check, News
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The Centre for Democracy and Development on Thursday, December 3, said it will give necessary technical assistance needed to curb the protracted conflict between herders and farmers across some states in Nigeria.

The Centre’s Principal Program Officer, Shamsudeen Yusuf, while speaking at State-level Stakeholders’ Meeting on the Implementation of the National Livestock Plan (NLTP) in Lafia, Nasarawa State said CDD would stop at nothing to provide all technical assistance needed to ensure peace between the farmers, herders, and residents of affected communities in the North Central States.

At the meeting organised in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), Yusuf, representing Idayat Hassan, the Director of CDD said the Centre as a development partner decided to bring major stakeholders together to find ways to resolve conflicts in three states – Benue, Nasarawa, and Plateau.

He said that the meeting will serve as an avenue for the stakeholders to brainstorm on strategic steps to take to foster peaceful co-existence between herders and farmers in the states.

According to Yusuf, the objective of the state-level stakeholders’ meeting is to support the implementation of NLTP in states affected by the conflict and bring about sustainable peace in these areas.

In his virtual address, the Special Adviser to the President on Agriculture and the National Coordinator of the NLTP, Andrew Kwasari, said  farmers’/ herders’ conflict have evolved from just mere disputes and can be attributed to climate change, ideals, visions, migrations and among others.

He also raised the need for traditional and religious leaders to be part of the peacebuilding process as they are the ones who know and interact more with the people of the communities.

Kwasari said: “When speaking on migration, traditional leaders know those who are members of their communities and those who are foreigners.”

He says leaders of communities need to work together with other stakeholders to ensure that the farmers’/herders’ conflict is mitigated.

Also, the Nasarawa State Coordinator of the NLTP, Dr. Abdullahi Musa, commended the efforts of the CDD and its partners in pushing for the implementation of the plan.

Musa appealed to the Centre to take a step forward by going into the field in some of the affected communities to seek ways of getting resident to buy into the NLTP.

Identifying major factors responsible for the Herder/farmer conflict as population explosion and global warming which has necessitate migration and leading to limited land spaces, Musa assures that through NLTP farmers and herders are fully aware of their operational boundaries as far as grazing reserve is concerned in the state.

Representing the Abdullahi Sule, the Nasarawa State governor, his Special Adviser on Civil Society Organisations and Partners, Munirat Abdullahi, said the NLTP was keyed into by seven different states across Nigeria.

Ms. Abdullahi said that Nasarawa is one of the first three states which implemented the plan with a view of finding lasting solution to the conflict between farmers and herders.

Also, a representative of the Emir of Lafia, Alhaji Ishiaka Dauda, said the emirate is happy that the Nasarawa State government is serious about finding lasting solution to the crisis between farmers and herders.

Alhaji Dauda said a peaceful environment is key to productivity.

He said: “We all like meat, our crops are from farmers and everyone eats the products from the two parties, thus the need for us to ensure we all co-habit peacefully.”

 Superintendent of Police, Jiriko Jonathan, who represented the Nasarawa State Commissioner of Police said the Police is interested in peacebuilding in the communities and state at large.

SP Jonathan said the Police have started the recruitment of officers referred to as Special Constables for the purpose of peacebuilding in areas where there are conflicts.

“These special constables are selected from the communities and the aim is to build people’s confidence. With this selection process, the people are part of the community and also part of the Nigeria Police Force,” Jonathan said.

He further called for the inclusion of the Police in activities bordering on peacebuilding and conflict resolution as such involvement helps the institution serve the people better.

In her address, the Assistant Commandant of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Eunice Ibitoye, said security agencies in Nasarawa States are saddled with the responsibility of securing the lives and property of the people of the state.

Ms. Ibitoye, who is also the Head of the Department of Peace and Conflict Resolution at the NSCDC said her department tries to remain as civil as possible as the name of the agencies imply.

She said: “In fact, for my department, which is Peace and Conflict Resolution, we barely wear uniforms like you can see me now on mufti. The essence is for us not to scare the people and for them to also see us as part of them.”

CDD, Others Call on Politicians, Clerics to Join in Combating Fake News

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The Centre for Democracy and Development on Tuesday, September 15, has urged politicians, religious leaders, and social media influencers to join hands curbing the spread of disinformation and misinformation in the ecosystem.

Speaking at a webinar themed; “Addressing Mis and Disinformation in Northern Nigeria”, the moderator of the event, Hamza Ibrahim, said it is important that everyone including citizens work towards bringing an end to the widespread of disinformation in various platforms and forum.

Ibrahim, a fact-checker at the CDD said almost every sector of Nigeria’s economy is affected by some level of disinformation

“From the health sector, especially with the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, to education, communication, and technology, not even one sector is spared,” Hamza said.

Addressing the role of the media in countering disinformation in the Northern region of the country, Jaafar Jafaar, the publisher of Daily Nigerian said journalists should be made to understand that they are saddled with the responsibility to serve as gatekeepers in the industry.

Further noting that not all news items make it to publish, Jaafar said articles should be properly screened before being posted.

According to Jaafar, such an effort could help in reducing the number of disinformation and false narratives spread across the media space and at the community level in the Northern region of the country.

Also, stating that social media platforms have become a contributing factor to the spread of false narratives, Jaafar said media organisations are caught in the wave of fake news due to the need to be ahead of competitors.

“Newspaper is caught in the wave for fake news because of the speed at which news is being circulated and in order to stay relevant,” Jaafar said.

Blaming Nigerian political leaders for the widespread of disinformation especially in election seasons, the Daily Nigerian publisher said: “Political leaders will support any person who is ready to spread fake news as long as the person paint them in a good light.”

He also said that disinformation is benefitting the political class more and such actions are causing harm to residents of the Northern part of the country.

These politicians even go as far as giving appointments to fake news peddlers supporting not minding its effect on the people,” Jaafar said.

In his address, the Dauda Sharafa who represented Professor Umaru Pate, the Dean School of Post Graduate Studies, Bayero University Kano, listed the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria as the major cause of disinformation spread.

Sharafa said a lack of digital literacy has also led to the prolific production and spread of all kinds of false narratives.

He also said the poor welfare of journalists by media employers cannot be ruled out.

“You cannot rule out brown envelope Nigeria in journalism, because of welfare. If they are to choose between ethic and survival they would choose to survive due to the economy of Nigeria,” Sharafa said.

He called for improved welfare for journalists by media organisations to curb some of these dangers of reporting false claims.

“On this side of the country, most people do not verify stories, before share because it comes from the family, friend, or close contacts,” he added.”

Sharafa added that there is a need to identify the vulnerable population among residents in the Northern region including uneducated individuals, artisans, young adults, social media users, market women and men, business people.

He said identifying such individuals would help to empower them to get involved in fact-checking claims perceived to be false before dissemination.

He said these groups of individuals can play the roles of fact-checking ambassadors and ease the strain caused by the spread of false narratives in Northern Nigeria.

#RevolutionNow Protest: Clampdown on peaceful protesters wrong – CDD

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CDD Director Idayat Hassan

The Centre for Democracy and Development condemns the attacks on, and arrests of protesters affiliated with the #RevolutionNow movement in three states of the country: Abuja, Lagos, and Osun by operatives of various Nigerian security agencies.

Photographs, videos, and reports from the field corroborate that on 5th August 2020, unarmed protesters in Osun, Abuja, and Lagos were accosted by security operatives, and subsequently subjected to inhumane treatment by these operatives. The security personnel were primarily from the Nigerian Military, the Nigerian Police Force, and the Department of State Security (DSS).

In the case of Osogbo, Osun state, the protesters were arrested at the chapel of the Nigerian Union of Journalists while addressing the members of the press – an action that can only be described as an abuse of power by these operatives. In Abuja, protesters at the Unity Fountain, Shehu Shagari Way, Maitama were either dispersed or arrested; and the surrounding streets were cordoned off by soldiers, thereby restricting citizens’ mobility. In Lagos, protesters who gathered at the Ikeja, under-bridge were also dispersed or arrested by security operatives.

The Centre hereby strongly warns against the constant breach of trust and the abuse of human rights by Nigeria’s security agencies.

The CDD notes that these street-protesters were exercising their fundamental human rights as enshrined in Section 40 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended. Further, the Centre emphasizes that by the actions of security operatives on 5th August 2020, at least three fundamental rights of the protesters were infringed upon: (i) the right of association, (ii) right to peaceful assembly, and (iii) the right to freedom of expression.

Additionally, security operatives have on this day, trampled upon citizens’ rights as provided in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Articles 10, 11, and 12 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, to which Nigeria is legally bound.

It is alarming that security operatives saddled with the responsibility to protect citizens have turned against the people and have contradicted the letter of the nation’s sacred law.

The Centre strongly warns that the use of lethal force and tear gas, and the abuse of the people’s rights – as seen at the #RevolutionNow Protest – can no longer be condoned, particularly from those called to serve.

The CDD also warns the Federal Government against using the Coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to shrink the civic space. This repression of citizens is an objectionable trend which has become more prevalent across the globe, as governments restrict civic freedoms under the shield of the pandemic.

A people-oriented government would focus on engaging its citizens, rather than abusing an opportunity to listen, learn, and most importantly, to engage with the issues of governance raised by peaceful protesters.

While we commend the release of protesters in Abuja and Lagos, the CDD calls on the Federal Government of Nigeria, and the heads of the security agencies which have toed the path of this inhumanity to redress their steps and unconditionally release all others arrested during the course of the protest, with assurance and commitment that this sort of action will never be repeated.

For media enquiries, please contact cddabv@cddwestafrica.org cc nibeh@cddwestafrica.org or phone 08021476979

Idayat Hassan

Director

Dans un nouveau rapport, le CDD recommande la restitution et des soutiens psychosociaux aux victimes de violations des droits de l'homme en Gambie

By Fact Checks, News, UncategorizedNo Comments

Le Centre pour la démocratie et le développement (CDD) a recommandé la restitution aux victimes de violations des droits de l’homme pendant le règne de 22 ans de l’ancien président de la Gambie, Yahya Jammeh.

Dans son nouveau rapport intitulé : « Documenter la dictature : vérité, réconciliation et réparation en Gambie », le CDD a déclaré que la réparation est un domaine critique dans le processus de la Commission de vérité, réconciliation et réparation (TRRC) de la Gambie.

Yahya Jammeh, âgé de 29 ans seulement, a pris le contrôle de la Gambie lors d’un coup d’État militaire en juillet 1994.

Jammeh a en outre demandé la validation de son régime en organisant et en remportant des élections en 1996, 2001, 2006 et 2011.

Chaque fois, plus de 50% des voix ont été obtenues dans des sondages qui ont été décrit comme « entaché » et « dépourvus de légitimité » par les observateurs électoraux.

Mais en décembre 2016, à la recherche d’un cinquième mandat populaire, Jammeh n’a réussi à remporter que 39,6% des voix et a été battu par le candidat d’une coalition de partis d’opposition, Adama Barrow.

Ayant d’abord semblé disposé à accepter les résultats, Jammeh a ensuite changé d’avis en invoquant des “anomalies” et a appelé à l’annulation des résultats et à la tenue de nouvelles élections. Mais après plus d’un mois de négociations prolongées avec les dirigeants de la Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, et avec la menace d’une action militaire régionale imminente, Jammeh a quitté la Gambie pour s’exiler en Guinée équatoriale le 21 janvier 2017.

Pendant les 22 ans de règne de Jammeh, des violations des droits de l’homme allant de disparitions forcées, d’arrestations et de meurtres illégaux, de torture, de violences sexuelles et sexistes et de persécutions d’opposants politiques réels ou supposés, ont caractérisé la Gambie.

Un rapport d’enquête de Human Rights Watch de 2015 a détaillé comment les services de sécurité et les groupes de guérilla utilisaient régulièrement l’intimidation, la violence, les incendies criminels et les disparitions forcées contre les personnes qui dénonçaient les personnes au pouvoir.

Dans le rapport publié le lundi 22 juin, le CDD a déclaré qu’une fois le règlement de réparation soit finalisé, les détails devraient également être simplifiés et communiqués à travers les médias – presse écrite, radio, télévision, médias sociaux – dans les langues locales.

Selon le CDD, la diffusion du rapport de la commission doit donner aux Gambiens un aperçu détaillé du processus de sa demande et des délais pour le processus de réparation.

Le rapport indique également que cela peut être fait en partenariat avec des agences de presse et des organisations comme le Centre gambien pour les victimes de violations des droits de l’homme.

Le CDD a également insisté sur la nécessité d’avoir un processus approuvé pour s’appuyer sur le travail qui a été fait par le TRRC pour introduire la question des violences sexuelles et de genre dans le domaine public.

Il a également appelé la Commission nationale des droits de l’homme à faire de la violence sexuelle et de genre un objectif clé de son travail dans son premier plan annuel ou stratégique, tandis que les efforts de réconciliation au niveau communautaire devraient continuer d’être un objectif clé du travail du TRRC au cours des derniers mois.

Le Centre a appelé à l’identification de champions de la réconciliation communautaire qui pourraient ensuite soutenir le travail de la commission dans d’autres régions du pays, ce qui améliorera encore le sentiment d’appropriation du processus par les Gambiens.

« Cela pourrait inclure l’adaptation et de tirer la leçon des approches de Palava Hut et Fambul Tok utilisées au Libéria et en Sierra Leone », indique le rapport.

Le rapport a également déclaré que : “La compensation monétaire est importante, mais la TRRC devrait également envisager la restitution des biens, y compris les terres saisies par l’ancien régime.”

Une autre option recommandée consiste à envisager des réparations communautaires, en particulier pour les régions qui étaient privées de services sociaux essentiels en raison de leur résistance à l’ancien régime.

Le TRRC doit continuer à assurer des conseils post-traumatiques, des soins de santé et un soutien psychosocial aux victimes. Créer un outil de suivi du Fonds de soutien aux victimes qui permettra aux citoyens de voir comment les fonds sont répartis de manière transparente et responsable, mais qui garantit toujours la confidentialité des individus.

En privé, le TRRC et les partenaires au développement devraient exercer des pressions sur le ministère de la Justice pour libérer plus de fonds pour soutenir le paiement des réparations.

En plus d’utiliser les fonds provenant de la vente des actifs de Jammeh, d’autres personnes et entreprises qui ont bénéficié du règne de Jammeh devraient également payer des réparations, surtout si elles sont explicitement mentionnées par le TRRC.

Le TRRC devrait établir et communiquer des directives claires sur le fonctionnement du fonds de réparation. Si ce délai s’étend au-delà de la vie de la Commission, cela devrait inclure une orientation claire sur qui sera responsable de la gestion de la distribution des fonds. La Commission nationale des droits de l’homme serait un choix évident

Dans le cadre de la campagne #NeverAgain, le gouvernement devrait explorer comment le bâtiment TRRC peut être converti en musée qui peut être utilisé comme un outil éducatif, documentant le travail de la Commission et ses conclusions, pour les générations futures.

Cela et les monuments commémoratifs de certaines des pires atrocités serviraient de rappel durable des abus.

Les meilleures pratiques et les expériences de la TRRC qui peuvent être partagées avec d’autres pays et en tirer des enseignements dans le cadre de processus de justice transitionnelle similaires après des décennies de dictature.

“Rédiger un rapport final avec des recommandations claires et bien articulées et fournir un plan sur la façon dont ces approches peuvent être mises en pratique”, indique le rapport.

Il a également déclaré que cela devrait impliquer une collaboration étroite avec la société civile et la médias pour développer un mécanisme de suivi de la mise en œuvre des recommandations d’une manière qui soutienne l’engagement du public.

« La commission doit faire en sorte que les recommandations soient clairement communiquées sur les médias traditionnels et sociaux dans les langues locales sera essentiel à leur légitimité et à donner aux citoyens les moyens de veiller à ce que le gouvernement écoute les conclusions du TRRC et adopte ses recommandations », a-t-il ajouté.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

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FAQ on Coronavirus, adapted from World Health Organisation

Q: What is a coronavirus?

A: Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans.  In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.

Q: What is COVID-19?

A: COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Q: What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

A: The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough. Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don’t feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around 1 out of every 6 people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention. (FAQ on Coronavirus)

Q: How does COVID-19 spread?

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person. Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets. This is why it is important to stay more than 1 meter (3 feet) away from a person who is sick. WHO is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.    

FAQ on Coronavirus: What can I do to protect myself and prevent the spread of disease?

Protection measures for everyone

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority. Many countries around the world have seen cases of COVID-19 and several have seen outbreaks. Authorities in China and some other countries have succeeded in slowing or stopping their outbreaks. However, the situation is unpredictable so check regularly for the latest news.

You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:

  • Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
    Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
  • Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
    Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth.
    Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
  • Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
    Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
  • Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
    Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
  • Keep up to date on the latest COVID-19 hotspots (cities or local areas where COVID-19 is spreading widely). If possible, avoid traveling to places  – especially if you are an older person or have diabetes, heart or lung disease.
    Why? You have a higher chance of catching COVID-19 in one of these areas. (FAQ on Coronavirus)

Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

  • Follow the guidance outlined above (Protection measures for everyone)
  • Self-isolate by staying at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache, low-grade fever (37.3 C or above) and slight runny nose, until you recover. If it is essential for you to have someone bring you supplies or to go out, e.g. to buy food, then wear a mask to avoid infecting other people.
    Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travellers.
    Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent the possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Q: How likely am I to catch COVID-19?

The risk depends on where you  are – and more specifically, whether there is a COVID-19 outbreak unfolding there. For most people in most locations the risk of catching COVID-19 is still low. However, there are now places around the world (cities or areas) where the disease is spreading. For people living in, or visiting, these areas the risk of catching COVID-19 is higher. Governments and health authorities are taking vigorous action every time a new case of COVID-19 is identified. Be sure to comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings. Cooperating with disease control efforts will reduce your risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.

COVID-19 outbreaks can be contained and transmission stopped, as has been shown in China and some other countries. Unfortunately, new outbreaks can emerge rapidly. It’s important to be aware of the situation where you are or intend to go. WHO publishes daily updates on the COVID-19 situation worldwide.

Q: Should I worry about COVID-19?

Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults. However, it can cause serious illness: about 1 in every 5 people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.

We can channel our concerns into actions to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities. First and foremost among these actions is regular and thorough hand-washing and good respiratory hygiene. Secondly, keep informed and follow the advice of the local health authorities including any restrictions put in place on travel, movement and gatherings. (FAQ on Coronavirus)

Q: Who is at risk of developing severe illness?

While we are still learning about how COVID-2019 affects people, older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes)  appear to develop serious illness more often than others. This was a common FAQ on Coronavirus.

Q: Are antibiotics effective in preventing or treating the COVID-19?

A: No. Antibiotics do not work against viruses, they only work on bacterial infections. COVID-19 is caused by a virus, so antibiotics do not work. Antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment of COVID-19. They should only be used as directed by a physician to treat a bacterial infection. (FAQ on Coronavirus) 

Q: Are there any medicines or therapies that can prevent or cure COVID-19?

While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available. (FAQ on Coronavirus)

Q: Is there a vaccine, drug or treatment for COVID-19?

A: Not yet. To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.

Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue, and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. (See Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus).

Q: Is COVID-19 the same as SARS?

A: While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available.

Q: Should I wear a mask to protect myself?

A: Only wear a mask if you are ill with COVID-19 symptoms (especially coughing) or looking after someone who may have COVID-19. Disposable face mask can only be used once. If you are not ill or looking after someone who is ill then you are wasting a mask. There is a world-wide shortage of masks, so WHO urges people to use masks wisely.

WHO advises rational use of medical masks to avoid unnecessary wastage of precious resources and mis-use of masks  (see Advice on the use of masks).

The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue and maintain a distance of at least 1 meter (3 feet) from people who are coughing or sneezing. See basic protective measures against the new coronavirus for more information. (FAQ on Coronavirus)

Q: How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask?

  • Remember, a mask should only be used by health workers, caretakers, and individuals with respiratory symptoms, such as fever and cough.
  • Before touching the mask, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water
  • Take the mask and inspect it for tears or holes.
  • Orient which side is the top side (where the metal strip is).
  • Ensure the proper side of the mask faces outwards (the coloured side).
  • Place the mask to your face.
  • Pinch the metal strip or stiff edge of the mask so it moulds to the shape of your nose.
  • Pull down the mask’s bottom so it covers your mouth and your chin.
  • After use, take off the mask; remove the elastic loops from behind the ears while keeping the mask away from your face and clothes, to avoid touching potentially contaminated surfaces of the mask.
  • Discard the mask in a closed bin immediately after use.
  • Perform hand hygiene after touching or discarding the mask – Use alcohol-based hand rub or, if visibly soiled, wash your hands with soap and water. (FAQ on Coronavirus)

Q: How long does the virus survive on surfaces?

A: It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment).

If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with simple disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others. Clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth, or nose.

Q: Is it safe to receive a package from any area where COVID-19 has been reported?

A: Yes. The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low. 

Q: Is there anything I should not do?

A: The following measures ARE NOT effective against COVID-2019 and can be harmful:

  • Smoking
  • Wearing multiple masks
  • Taking antibiotics (See question 10 “Are there any medicines of therapies that can prevent or cure COVID-19?“)
  • In any case, if you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing seek medical care early to reduce the risk of developing a more severe infection and be sure to share your recent travel history with your health care provider.

FAQ on Coronavirus: Is the source of the coronavirus causing COVID-19 known?

A: Currently, the source of SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus (CoV) causing COVID-19 is unknown. All available evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 has a natural animal origin and is not a constructed virus. SARS-CoV-2 virus most probably has its ecological reservoir in bats. SARS-CoV-2, belongs to a group of genetically related viruses, which also include SARS-CoV and a number of other CoVs isolated from bats populations. MERS-CoV also belongs to this group, but is less closely related.

Q: How did the first human SARS-CoV-2 infections occur?

A: The first human cases of COVID-19 were identified in Wuhan City, China in December 2019. At this stage, it is not possible to determine precisely how humans in China were initially infected with SARS-CoV-2.

However, SARS-CoV, the virus which caused the SARS outbreak in 2003, jumped from an animal reservoir (civet cats, a farmed wild animal) to humans and then spread between humans. In a similar way, it is thought that SARS-CoV-2 jumped the species barrier and initially infected humans, but more likely through an intermediate host, that is another animal species more likely to be handled by humans – this could be a domestic animal, a wild animal, or a domesticated wild animal and, as of yet, has not been identified.

Until the source of this virus is identified and controlled, there is a risk of reintroduction of the virus in the human population and the risk of new outbreaks like the ones we are currently experiencing.

FAQ on Coronavirus: I have been asking my self, what people gain from spreading fake news?

A: The energy you put in to develop fake news should have been used to create a better content for the good of the nation

 Q: Please, I have dry cough, headaches,chest pains and my throat is itching me been sneezing too. What do I do now?

 A: Adhere to all precautions as listed by health authorities. Call NCDC toll free number to report yourself, avoid contact with other people and stay at home until the Health practitioners attend to you.

Q: But then warm water early in the morning is good for your health?

A: This is good for your health, however, note that it doesn’t cure nor does it prevent coronavirus.

FAQ on Coronavirus: So what are the social structures put in place to ensure Nigerians stay safe?

A: The federal government has placed a ban on all movement to enable people to stay safe during this period. Other measures are being taken by health authorities. However, we all have a responsibility to #StoptheSpread and stay safe by adhering to all the hygiene rules and staying healthy.

FAQ on Coronavirus: Do we still have international flights coming into this country? If yes, why?

A: All international flights have been banned and borders closed. To this a preventive measure for the containment of the wide spread of the COVID-19

Traditional leaders key factors in ending Liberia’s culture impunity – CDD, OHCHR

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In a continuous effort to end financial crime, the Centre for Democracy & Development (CDD) in partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and Civil Society Human Rights Advocacy Platform (CSOHRAP) met with traditional leaders in Liberia.

The team who were welcomed to Bomi county by the traditional leaders said the culture of impunity must be ended as a means of addressing economic and war crimes in Liberia. 

It also called for public support for the establishment of the War and Economic Crimes court for the prosecution of major actors of the 14-year civil war in Liberia.

Following its one-year nationwide consultation themed “Effects to Address Past Human Rights Violation of Regional Levels in Liberia” the partner who decried the lack of interest by the Liberia government to prosecute major actors of the civil war said there is need for the promotion of rule of law.

Speaking at a two-day outreach on accountability and justice for past crimes, attended by traditional leaders from Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Montserrado and the host county, the head of programs for OHCHR, Sonny Onyegbula, said the office is responsible for accountability and promotion of rule of law.

Onyegbula said the OHCHR Liberia Country office through its accountability projects have provided support to ensure that the recommendations of Liberia’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) are implemented.

According to him, traditional leaders are Liberia’s most important assets ensuring messages are disseminated to community members.

“We are aware of different myths and falsehood that are mischievously associated with the establishment of Economic and War Crime Courts,”

Onyegbula said.

Debunking some of the misrepresentation of facts on the initiative, the OHCHR programs head said the court when established would not send everyone who took part in the Liberian war to prison.

He said: “Similarly, child soldiers do not bear any responsibility because they were under the direction of a Commander who should account for their action; many countries have established similar courts and underwent justice processes, but it did not lead to any war, Sierra Leone is a very good example.”

In its reaction, the CDD collaborated remarks by the OHCHR that the traditional leaders are key element to ending the culture of impunity and in dealing with issues around justice and accountability.

The centre said it is committed to supporting the promotion of social mobilisation strategies among local and rural traditional leaders and authorities in sub-divisions of Liberia.

According to the centre in dealing with the past, there must room for promoting access to justice, accountability in Liberia.

Also, the CSOHRAP said the outreach is intended for the traditional leaders to discuss with right advocacy groups.

The secretary-general of CSOHRAP, Adama K. Dempster, said the groups will address issues of some violations that took place during the war and those that are still ongoing.

Dempster said the outreach will focus on the implementation of the TRC report and its recommendations to end the culture of impunity across the country to serve as deterrence for others.

He said the rights advocates see the traditional leaders as strong as the national government that can shift things in a positive direction for the betterment of Liberia.

Dempster said since the TRC ended its work ten years ago, nothing has been done to address the culture of impunity.

It may be recalled that a committee headed by Montserrado County District # 4 Representative, Rostonlyn Suococo Dennis signed a resolution last year endorsing the establishment of a war and economic crime court for Liberia.

The resolution which reportedly received over 50 signatures out of the 73 members of the House of Representatives.  However, since the endorsement last year there has been no effort to include the quest of an establishment of a war crimes court on the agenda for debate in plenary of the House of Representatives.

Access to Finance Remains a Big Challenge to Women Running for Elective Positions

By Blog, News, Nigeria Election 2019No Comments

Mercy Abang on Legit.ng

The Centre for Democracy and Development – CDD, commissioned this report (as part of a five part series) on Women’s Participation in Nigeria’s 2019 elections.

Moral support for women aspiring for political office is great. Mental support too. But what is most important, and most neglected, is money. In Nigeria’s political atmosphere, it seems giving women money is only comfortable, when it doesn’t make them more powerful than men.“Most women find out the hard way” says Aisha Augie-Kuta, an aspirant for the House of Representatives in recently concluded elections. Aisha ran under the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.Augie-Kuta is the first female politician to run for the House of Representatives primaries under a major party in Kebbi State, Nigeria. Aisha’s advise is perhaps general – for anyone with a desire to campaign for political office. But it helps to understand an essential question: How have political parties addressing the gender funding gap? Augie-Kuta is the first female politician to run for the House of Representatives primaries under a major party in Kebbi State, Nigeria . “It’s not because women don’t do their research, the problem is not even being talked about. We definitely do not talk enough about the role of money for women vying for elective positions. A lot more needs to be done in sensitizing women & stakeholders on access to political financing and the role of money during the campaign period,” -Aisha
A nomination form in the 2019 elections was set by the All Progressive Congress at N45million, or roughly $125,000. This amount is greater than the combined minimum wage of an average Nigerian for 208 years. But Nigeria’s partisan styled god-fatherism politics allows men more access to economic support that is not available to female candidates. This situation keeps the playing field unequal. How this affects women seeking office. According to Section 91 of Nigeria’s electoral act, as amended in 2018 but yet to be signed into law, presidential aspirants in Nigeria can spend up to N5 billion – from N1 billion in 2010 – while candidates aspiring to become federal legislators can spend up to N70 million instead of the N20 million in 2010.“The cost of politics is high, and women are the worst victims of economic inequality” – Samson Itodo, the Executive Director, YIAGA Africa. Samson Itodo who runs YIAGA, an organization promoting democratic governance, adds that ‘political parties and men often tend to relegate women to the background keeping them in a subordinate position due to their inability to muster the financial war chest for elections.’ Mr Shakir Akorede, Communications Associate at BudgIT Nigeria, opines that: “campaign finances are steadily inflated by mainstream parties – poverty is being weaponized through a new trend of vote buying. These are manifest reasons why it’s hard for women to break the political glass ceiling in Nigeria”. To enable more women in politics, Mr Akorede said the electoral commission must take the issue of campaign spending limits seriously. Media and Political Researcher Tahiru Sherriff thinks the problem extends beyond politics: “There are cultural implications to these things. There is the contested role of women in leadership positions in Islam across northern Nigeria. There is the historical back-benching of women in political matters in different local cultures. These issues, still affect the amount of moral investment necessary, or even political god-fatherism needed for women to break this ceiling. ”Is there a way forward?
Campaign funding is a big challenge. A United Nations (UN) Women 2013 research identified access to financing as one of the biggest barriers to enter into politics. A UK based research group, Improving Institutions for pro-poor growth, reports that money distorts the candidate selection process within political parties in Nigeria and largely influences who wins the elections.
The Centre for Democracy and Development, a think tank, supporting research and documenting the experiences of women who participated in the 2019 general elections maintains that women have inadequate capacity in mobilising funds for campaigns. “The main challenge is the near lack of support to women political campaigns, women are not trusted to win elections, so investing in their campaign is not attractive to funders” – CDD.
Like the CDD, Aisha-Augie also thinks that there could be a way forward, but more on the path of evening the scales: “Most women find out the hard way” says Aisha Augie-Kuta, an aspirant for the House of Representatives in recently concluded elections.  “If I was to propose a control mechanism (to control the money bags) then it would be a limit to financial spending. That would ensure the focus would be less on accessible finance and more on the actual capabilities of the person vying for a position”.
Mercy Abang is an award-winning African journalist, reporting on issues facing vulnerable populations.
See Also Gendered Contests: Women in Competitive Elections

Female politicians: How men promised to vote for us if we had sex with them

By Blog, News, Nigeria Election 2019No Comments

Mercy Abang on The Cable
The Nigerian Labour Act has no provisions for criminalising sexual harassment at the workplace. Most cases go unreported. A history of gender inequality, political instability, insecurity and the absence of legal authority to protect women at the workplace deny millions of women their voices – even powerful female politicians.
One would think that female politicians would be less exposed to these predatory practices. The reality is further from this. Okunola Abiola, 27, ran for a house of representatives seat in Lagos state in the 2019 general election.
“Notable residents in Ikeja demanded sexual commitment from me as collateral if I wanted to win. Electorate promised me their vote if I can date or have sexual affair with them,” she said.
“On many occasions, I have been harassed sexually: both verbally and by physical actions and this was a major setback for me.”
Abiola contested on the platform of the Alliance for Social Democrats (ASD), seeking to represent Ikeja federal constituency of Lagos. 28 years ago, Lagos was the capital of Nigeria. Ironically, the state is the first in Nigeria to make laws against sexual harassment. Unlike the Nigerian Labour Act, the criminal law of Lagos state 2011 has provisions criminalising sexual harassment through Section 262(1) it makes clear that:
“Any person who sexually harasses another is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for three years.”
Only 11.36% of nominated candidates for the last election were women, according to the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD).
There are constraints: violence, and intimidation of voters and candidates. But in addition to this, gross cases of sexual harassment against women. The CDD said these need to be examined and the prosecution of perpetrators will serve as a deterrent.
Two things are common across stories of political harassment. On one side, political intimidation through violence, and on the other – dirty politics through harassment of political opponents.
In one sentence, Sylvanus Okeoma, who contested the  Agwu north constituency in Enugu state house of assembly, narrated her experience as a candidate of the African Democratic Party: “I faced a lot of sexual harassment, and my agents were attacked.”
In the north, Ndi Kato,  political activist and politician, agreed that criminalising sexual assault by perpetrators will help to deter such behaviour.
“As a woman, I know better than to hope for this. I am the villain in every situation. If I point out sexual harassment in the political space, I get further removed from the space,”  she said
Ndi Kato once contested the house of assembly position in Kaduna.
While advocating the prosecution of sexual offenders, Kato expressed the concern: “in theory we agree to this but in terms of practicality, we are not at this conversation yet. Who are we having conversations with?”
TechHer, a platform providing support for Nigerian women through technology, is responding to this beyond conversations.
Chioma Agwuegbo, the founder, said she is working to balance the odds: “We have a Technology for Governance pillar that focuses on the application of technology and innovation in the promotion and protection of women in business and governance spaces. We see technology not as a panacea, but as a tool that can be wielded in many ways to support and assist women in dealing with harassment.”
Agwuegbo believes that if women are exposed to the ways technology enables their daily activities, they will be more productive and empowered to have a voice in their community.
SOURCE LINK
See Also Gendered Contests: Women in Competitive Elections

Mercy Abang: Female Nigerian Politicians Share Their Experiences During the 2019 Elections

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Mercy Abang on Bella Naija
Harassment, discrimination, violence and intimidation are key characters in Nigerian politics. But for women, these events have become so commonplace, from home to school, the streets to the workplace, religious institutions, academics, and beyond.
Although the 2019 elections in Nigeria saw the inclusion of a high number of female aspirants and candidates across the country, the basic problems remained the same: female politicians were subject to ridicule, criticism, and dismissal on the basis of their sex. The 2019 elections, however, still ushered in a new wave of women breaking this glass ceiling.
After defeating her opponent by more than twice the number of votes (532 to 227), Elizabeth Agbese, flag bearer for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in the race for the Benue State House of Assembly, Ado State Constituency, recounts that:

After the primaries, I was approached by some big names in my constituency who wanted me to give up my mandate. But I refused. They offered me money, yet I stood my ground. So they went to my party’s national secretariat and offered the officials money to replace my name. I got to know about their plan and took a court injunction to stop every attempt at replacing my name.

Harassment, discrimination, violence and intimidation are key characters in Nigerian politics. But for women, these events have become so commonplace, from home to school, the streets to the workplace, religious institutions, academics, and beyond.
Elizabeth reveals that contesting and winning as a woman in Nigeria is difficult. Internal party dynamics are toxic. Sabotage, extortion, and threats to life remain a part of daily living

Party men extort money from me. If there is a burial, I am expected to bring the money for it. If their roof is leaking, I am the one to fix it. When there is a wedding, I foot the bills. The list is endless.

This is a recurring pattern across the region. Favour Okeoma says her own party members outrightly dismiss her on the basis of sex, with words like: “Go and sit down, you are a woman, and a lady for that matter.”

My agents could not count my votes in their polling units. Most were attacked and beaten. Some were chased out of their community by fraternity groups.

In the northern capital city of Kaduna State, home to over 3 million voters in the 2019 elections, Zainab Saka Yusuf narrates her experience as a female contestant.

I was always followed. My office door was crashed. My car’s windscreen was smashed. I was threatened by thugs each day on the road, and I was attacked physically with a knife. I was always thinking of my life every day of the campaign. It was terrible.

Zainab contested under the National Rescue Movement (NRM), after leaving the All Progressive Congress (APC), due to tense internal politics. Zainab’s experience accounts for key aspects of why Nigeria has the lowest number of female parliamentarians in sub-Saharan Africa, and ranks 133rd in the world for female political representation.
Beyond political analysts and pundits, the National Human Rights Commission made a call for inclusive political participation. The commission opined that denying women the opportunity to fully participate in politics will continue to impact negatively on the nation’s democracy. But inclusion is just one of the problems. There is also the problem of safety.
Political in-party fighting, intimidation, and violence have somewhat become commonplace in elections around Nigeria. But the attack on women take many forms, and its impacts are enormous — on sitting female politicians, aspiring younger women, on the already unequal nature of gender in government, and on political outcomes that affect women everywhere.
SOURCE LINK
See also: How Women Fared in 2019 Elections

A Reflection on 20 years of Democracy in Nigeria, By Mahmud Jega

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The Fourth Republic differs from the three previous Republics we had in Nigeria in several respects. For one, it is the longest. While the First Republic lasted 5 years from Independence, the Second Republic lasted four years and three months while the Third Republic was inconclusive. It had elected state governors, state assemblies and even a National Assembly, to which the AFRC ceded some inconsequential powers including the power to legislate on museums, monuments and public libraries.


However, the Third Republic never had a civilian President. Even though a presidential election was held on June 12, 1993, the Returning Officer, Prof Humphrey Nwosu, did not declare the result until 15 years later, at an awkward and legally inconsequential public lecture in Abuja in 2008. Two federal elections were held in the 1st Republic, in 1959 and 1964; two were held in the 2nd Republic, in 1979 and 1983, and 6 have so far been held in the 4th Republic, in 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019.
Throughout the 1st Republic there was only one Prime Minister. Throughout the 2nd Republic there was only one President. Throughout the 3rd Republic there was no civilian President but there was a military President. In the 4th republic however, we have had four civilian presidents so far, even though two of them are former Army Generals. We have had 6 presidential transitions so far in this Republic, five of them through elections and one after a death in office, though three of them were from one person to himself. In fact, the unimaginable in Nigerian politics happened in this Republic when a party ruling at the federal level was defeated by the opposition in a national election, and it peacefully handed over power.


The quality of a Republic is a mishmash and interplay of personalities and institutions. In the Fourth Republic, some institutions have exceeded the role prescribed for them by the Constitution. Many others fell below the role prescribed for them by the Constitution, while still other important elements, namely the citizens and voters, totally misunderstood the role prescribed for them by the Constitution. The performance of different institutions in this Republic is a mixed bag. Let’s begin with the most visible and most powerful institution in the Fourth Republic, which is the Presidency.


The four presidents that we have had in this Republic differ from one another in democratic temperament, in tolerance of criticism, in anti-democratic short fuse, and in overarching ambition to dominate the environment. While some of them kept their political party on a short leash, others dined with their political party with a long spoon.


All four Presidents of the Fourth Republic are better known for their frown than for their smiles. Only one of them had the art of comic relief. None of the four is famous for his oratorical skills. Even though one of them is a PhD, none of the four is regarded to be an engaging intellectual, and certainly none of the four qualifies as a Philosopher-King…

Read more? Download Full Speech: Reflection of 20 years of Democracy in Nigeria PDF

Did Vladimir Putin say Africa is a cemetery?

By Fact Check, NewsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim: Multiple websites and blogs have been circulating a story of the Russian President, where he is alleged to say that when Africans get rich, their bank accounts are in Switzerland, they go to France for medical treatment and so on. The story goes on to say that Africa is a cemetery for Africans, and finishes with the question, “how can a cemetery be developed?”. The story was shared with a cropped image from an Instagram account with the name – Al Jazeera West Africa.

Fact: CDD fact-checkers reviewed the claimed using fact checking tools, including google search and found that there is no such Instagram account.  In addition, Fact checkers reviewed Vladimir Putin’s online presence. The story was traced back to a post that was published on the popular Nigerian online forum – Nairaland. This story has no basis in fact and is written purely with the intent to disinform and misinform Nigerians and indeed Africans.

Conclusion: This claim is False, as all effort to find source of information proof abortive.