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Fake News in West Africa: Flows, Facilitators and Fixes

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has today published its latest analysis of the
challenges posed by fake news to the information ecosystem across West Africa. ‘Fake News in West
Africa: Flows, facilitators and fixes’ builds on a series of country level reports released in the first half of
2022.
The report, authored by CDD’s director, Idayat Hassan and Jamie Hitchen, CDD’s editor-at-large and an
Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham details the individuals or organisations
involved in the spread of falsehoods, the tactics they seek to employ, and the influence and impact that
they are having. It also discusses the approaches employed so far to respond to the fake news threat.
Key findings from the study


1. The spread of falsehoods across information ecosystems in West Africa is growing. Although
enabled by increasing access to social media and the internet across the region, the flow of fake
news is not simply confined to online spaces but moves between offline and digital environments
with regularity and ease.


2. The way information flows between online and offline networks is critical for understanding how
fake news spreads and influences actions across West Africa. So too is trust. Information that a
recipient deems to be from a trustworthy source – be that the original source of the information or
the individual who last shared it – remains fundamental to decisions about what is true and what
is not, along with whether the information aligns with existing beliefs and biases.


3. The seven main groups engaged in the spread of falsehoods are political activists, online
influencers, the state, media enterprises, specialist consultancy firms, the diaspora and foreign
states.


4. During elections, the battle for influence over an ever growing online audience is amplified, with
political actors increasingly recruiting domestic ‘cyber warriors’ or regional and international
communication specialists to give them an electoral advantage.


5. Responses to the growing proliferation of fake news in the information ecosystem are challenged
by the fact that the state is not only not an impartial actor, but that it also engages either in the
spread and creation of falsehoods or in the self-serving restriction of online information flows.


6. West African states have sought to clamp down on fake news by limiting the space, either
through platform or internet shutdowns or through updating existing — or creating new —
legislation to deal with digital disinformation.


7. But digital regulation in the region is still primarily used as a political tool. Whilst regulation can be
part of the solution to tackling falsehoods, this is only true if it is overseen by a credible and
independent arbiter.


8. Critical recommendation is improving the digital literacy of ordinary citizens through public
awareness campaigns, fact-checking initiatives, and revised education curricula. A generally
more educated citizenry will be better positioned to arbitrate between true and false when
encountering new information either online or offline.


9. More pressure on social media companies to effectively moderate their platforms for hate speech
and falsehoods, will have a transformative impact on reducing not just the fake news in circulation
in West Africa, but the degree to which falsehoods are embraced by its citizens.


To speak with the authors of this report or if you have an interest in reviewing the 15 country level
studies produced as part of this series.

Please contact Esther Yusuf (eyusuf@cddwestafrica.org)

FACT CHECK: Has Zulum Been Picked as Tinubu’s Running Mate?

By Fact Check, Fake News, NewsNo Comments

Claim: An image of APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, raising the hand of Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, has led to rumours that Zulum has been picked as the vice-presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress.

Verdict: False

Context: After winning the June 2022 APC presidential primaries, Bola Tinubu submitted Kabiru Masari as a placeholder running mate to beat the INEC deadline for registration of running mates. However, he has till July 15 to substitute the name and has been in negotiations with party officials to determine who he will tap to run with him. As a southerner, it is expected he will field a northern running mate, but there has been speculation and concern about picking a fellow Muslim.

Verification: During a recent event to mark the birthday celebration of Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives, Tinubu confirmed he was still searching for a running mate while celebrating the relationship between the Speaker and his deputy. Furthermore, no official statement has been made on either the candidate or the party’s social media platforms. Finally, the Borno APC chapter has also not commenced work on substituting Zulum as their governorship candidate.

Why We Checked This: Religious tensions have long led to incidents of violence in the country. The possible selection of Zulum could lead to issues in other Northern regions, either by aggrieved leaders or communities. It is also important that false information is curtailed in the lead up to the 2023 general elections.    

FACT CHECK: Asiwaju Bola Tinubu’s CSU certificate is Fake?

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim:

Multiple posts were made on social media suggesting that the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu never studied at the Chicago State University stating that whatever certificate he has from the school is fake.

CSU Certificate
Statement Tweet from Chicago

Several documents kept flying on social media verifying that he did attend Chicago State University from 1977 to 1979.

Factcheck Process:

A Factcheck by the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) revealed that all claims are false. CDD reached out to the office of the registrar at CSU via email and the response from the office verified that he majored in accounting and was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with Honors on June 22, 1979.

Conclusion:

CDD can confirm that the claim of the APC presidential candidate not studying at CSU and forging a certificate is false.

CDD Fact Check

Dated: June 29, 2022.

FACT CHECK: Has Peter Obi’s Movement Become Spiritual?

By Election, Fact Check, Fake News, NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: Misleading False Alarm

CLAIM: A Tweep, had tweeted via @Nkemchor_, “Mbaka attacked Peter Obi and lost his Adoration Ground Wike attacked Peter Obi and lost the Primaries Ike Ekweremadu attacked Peter Obi and got arrested for Organ Trafficking in the Uk. It seems this Peter Obi movement has become spiritual.”

FACT CHECKING PROCESS: Preliminary findings show that the tweet which was made in the afternoon of June 23, 2022 had garnered 3,991 retweeets, 244 Quote tweets and over 11,000 likes as at June 27, 2022.

Few days ago, the spiritual Director of the Adoration Ministry, Enugu, Nigeria, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka had without mincing words, declared that the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi would never smell the seat of the President.

A stingy man, that cannot give people his money, with this hunger ravaging the land, and you are saying he is the one you want. Do you want to die of hunger? Are you people insane? Where is the Holy Spirit? Mbaka opined.

In May, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Presidential Aspirant and Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, had said while appearing on a programme on Channels Television that the former Anambra State governor, lacks integrity and that he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) because he knew he would not win the presidential ticket.

So, when we talk of character and integrity, it is an issue. You can be the best economist, but you don’t have character, no integrity. Governor Wike stated.

On his part, former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said that the South-East region will not vote for Peter Obi in the 2023 presidential election. Shortly after the governor of Delta State, Patrick Okowa was announced as Atiku’s running mate, a video trended in which Ekweremadu said, I assure you that South-East will vote for the People Democratic Party (PDP). I can guarantee that. No doubt Peter Obi is our son, but you need to be dynamic. You need to ask yourself, can Peter win the presidential election? Can the East afford to throw away their votes? Can we afford to be sentimental in matters that concern our people, our children, and our future? No. Senator Ekweremadu quoted.

peter obi's movement become spiritual

CONCLUSION: Despite the evidence above, while it is true that Senator Ekweremadu was arrested in the UK, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, whose parish was suspended on the directives of Bishop Callistus Onaga, returned to the Adoration Ground to address the Adorers, Vanguard confirmed. And Governor Wike, who contested in the PDP’s primary election did not lose the contest because of the comments on Peter Obi. Many political pundits praised the gallant role of the Rivers Governor in that race. All claims by the individual cannot be substantiated as several factors came to play on all occasions bothering the three personalities mentioned.

FACT CHECK: Political Violence In Aiyetoro Ekiti

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: TRUE

CLAIM: On May 19, 2022, the Center for Democracy and Development received some videos, pictures and a Facebook post claiming that some supporters of a particular party assaulted some persons in the community.

FACT: Facts gathered from word-of-mouth have it that the fight ensued after some persons were discussing at the garage in Ayetoro Ekiti their favourite political party and candidate this was said to grieve some supporters of APC it was said to escalate to the stabbing of Ayodele Dada a member of SDP by Segun John a member of APC. The stabbed is currently confirmed to be in the hospital at the time of this report receiving treatment. Ido Osi Local Government area Ekiti North Senatorial District.

CONCLUSION: CDD has confirmed that the Political violence is true and the command has commenced an investigation into the issue and the situation is under control.

CDD urges the members of the public to desist from any form of political violence. Pre, during and  Post Election.

Facebook post

FACT CHECK: Did ICPC Uncover Multibillion-Naira Cash, Rolex Watches in Ex-COAS, Buratai’s Abuja Property?

By Blog, Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: A trending news story was spotted making the rounds on social media platforms on June 24th, 2022, with the claim that ICPC operatives conducted an operation that led to the recovery of over a Billion Naira and 50 luxury watches from the former Chief of Army Staff General Tukur Buratai.

VERIFICATION PROCESS: To verify the authenticity of the claim, CDD-fact-checkers sourced valid evidence on the web. Checks on the Twitter handle of the ICPC revealed that the Commission released a statement, debunking the news story on Friday, June 24th.

The ICPC confirmed recovering the sums of N175,706,500 and $220,965 along with cars and several designer wrists watches, including three Rolexes from a Military contractor and not from General Buratai as claimed.  According to the report, the operation was conducted as part of an investigation into a suspected money laundering case. The Commission added that the property located in Wuse 2 Area of Abuja is owned by K. Salam Construction Company. Following the operation, the Managing Director of the company, Kabiru Sallau, was arrested.

ICPC Spokesperson, Azuka Ogugwa, confirmed that its operatives raided the house in Wuse 2, Abuja, on June 16, but described the media reports as “inaccurate and concocted”. He added that the Commission was yet to conclude its investigation and prefers not to preempt its outcome, while avoiding the frenzy of media trial.

CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm that the claim is false. ICPC operatives did not recover over a Billion Naira and 50 luxury watches from General Tukur Buratai Rtd. However, the ICPC confirmed recovering the sums of N175,706,500 and $220,965 along with cars and several designer wrists watches, including three Rolexes from a Military contractor, Kabiru Sallau.

CDD urges the media to report accurately and the public to always verify news stories before sharing.

FACT CHECK: Is Nigeria Air Recruiting?

By Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim:

A letter headed paper is currently being circulated on social media suggesting that Nigeria Air is recruiting.

The coloured letter-headed paper which has the Nigeria Air logo read thus: “Dear All, If you are interested in employment with Nigeria Air Limited, please send your CV and motivation letter to our HR Department. Email: careers@nigeriaair.world.

“Your application will be reviewed carefully, and if we have suitable position, you will be contacted.”

Verification Process:

While verifying the authenticity of the letter, Daily Trust contacted the ministry of aviation which pilots the affairs of the aviation industry in the country.

Dr. James Odaudu, Special Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika debunked the letter saying, “No recruitment for Nigeria Air is happening now.”

Conclusion:

Although Nigeria Air was supposed to commence operation in April 2022 as approved by the Federal Executive Council, the airline is yet to begin operations as such the letter being circulated on social media is FALSE.

FACT CHECK: Did the PDP Candidate, Senator Ademola Adeleke, Refuse to Sign the Peace Pact Toward a Peaceful Election in Osun State?

By Election, Fact Check, Fake NewsNo Comments

VERDICT: False

CLAIM: Following the meeting of Nigerian singer, Innocent Idibia, also known as 2Baba, with the major candidates, Dr Akin Ogunbiyi of the Accord Party (A), Governor Adegboyega Oyetola of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and Senator Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), in the scheduled July 16, 2022, Osun state governorship election, where he urged them to prevail on their supporters to eschew violence during the poll; by signing a peace pact, pledging commitment to a peaceful poll. News broke online and offline in the state, that Senator Ademola Adeleke, the PDP governorship candidate had refused to sign the peace pledge toward a peaceful election in the state.

VERIFICATION: Checks by CDD fact-checkers revealed that the Vote Not Fight Campaign team in Osun state confirmed that both the APC and PDP candidates signed the Peace pledge.

In a Joint Vote Not Fight and Stop-Violence against Women in Politics Press Statement debunking Fake News About the campaign advocacy visit to Osun PDP’s Candidate, the organizers confirmed that the governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for Osun 2022 off-cycle governorship election, Senator Ademola Nurudeen Adeleke on Wednesday 22nd, 2022 signed the Vote Not Fight (VNF) and Stop Violence against Women in Politics (Stop-VAWIP) placards to demonstrate his commitment to a peaceful governorship election. He also adopted the updated Osun Youth Agenda with a pledge to ensure its effective implementation if elected.

Fact checkers in Osun state also reached out to the campaign organization of the PDP’s candidate in Osogbo, spokesperson confirmed that their candidate, Senator Adeleke signed the peace pact with excitement.

CONCLUSION: CDD can confirm that the PDP candidate, Senator Adeleke signed the peace pact aimed to promote peaceful election. Therefore, the claim is false. CDD urges residents and voters to ensure they independently verify every story and other news items, especially as the state heads for election on July 16, 2022.

FACT CHECK: Algeria Central Bank Governor, NOT Emefiele, Was Sacked

By Fact Check, Fake News, NewsNo Comments

Verdict: False

Claim:

A report that Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has been sacked by President Muhammadu Buhari trended on social media and blogs on Wednesday.

Verification Process:

Though the Head, Corporate Communications at CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, had described the reported sack of Emefiele as “a mere rumour,” checks by Daily Trust showed that the rumour might have stemmed from what happened in Algeria.

Algerian President, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, on Monday sacked the country’s Central Bank Chief, Rostom Fadli, who was in office for less than two years.

His sacking was announced by the presidency without giving any further explanation.

Tebboune “on Monday ended the functions of the Governor of the Bank of Algeria, Mr. Rostom Fadli, and appointed Mr. Salah Eddine Taleb to replace him.”

Fadli had assumed office in June 2020 as interim head of the central bank of Africa’s fourth-biggest economy.

The chances are that the mention of Algeria Central Bank was misconstrued as Nigeria’s, especially in light of the recent controversies surrounding CBN Governor, Emefiele.

Many people, including Ondo State Governor, Mr Rotimi Akeredolu, had called for Emefiele’s sacking after a Fulani group reportedly obtained N100 million presidential forms for him.

Daily Fact Check

Conclusion:

Emefiele’s sacking by President Buhari is false news which likely stemmed from a misinterpretation or a twist of Algerian Central Bank governor’s dismissal.

FAKE NEWS IN WEST AFRICA – FLOWS, FACILITATORS AND FIXES

By Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fake News, Human Rights, News, PublicationNo Comments

The spread of falsehoods across information ecosystems in West Africa is growing. Although enabled by increasing access to social media and the internet across the region, the flow of fake news is not simply confined to online spaces but moves between offline and digital environments with regularity and ease. A rumour that is started by an online influencer on Facebook, once trending, can become a topic of debate and discussion for television or radio talk shows, broadening its audience. These debates, in turn, are then discussed and debated in gathering spots such as markets, atayah bases, okada stages or grins enabling them to disseminate through well-established word of mouth rumour networks. Completing the circle, these offline rumours can then be transposed back online and can either be further skewed to disinform or simply reinforce an already circulating falsehood.

The way information flows between online and offline networks is critical for understanding how fake news spreads and influences actions across West Africa. So
too is trust. Information that a recipient deems to be from a trustworthy source – be that the original source of the information or the individual who last shared it – remains fundamental to decisions about what is true and what is not, along with whether the information aligns with existing beliefs and biases. These factors are increasingly well understood by those involved in the
purposeful spreading of falsehoods online across West Africa particularly on issues relating to politics and health.

This report draws on the findings of 15 studies undertaken in 2021 covering all members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Information was gathered through desk-based research, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and the authors’ experiences of using social media platforms. This regional report draws out some of the key trends from those studies. It highlights the individuals or organizations involved in the spread of falsehoods, the tactics they seek to employ, and the influence and impact that they are having. It then draws attention to the range of approaches adopted so far to respond to the ‘fake news’ threat. It concludes by offering recommendations to key stakeholders about what more can — and should — be done.

Read the full article below

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

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

Verdict: False

Claim:

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

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

Verification Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion

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

Is Nigeria’s Economy in Better Shape than in 2015 as Claimed by President Buhari?

By 2023 Elections, Blog, Constitution, Fact Check, Fake News, Food for thought, News, PublicationsNo Comments

Verdict: FALSE

CLAIM:

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday in an exclusive interview with international news outfit Bloomberg  said his administration will be leaving Nigeria in better shape than it met it in 2015. The president also stated that he is leaving Nigeria’s economy better than he met it in 2015 when he assumed office.

According to the president, “We leave Nigeria in a far better place than we found it. Corruption is less hidden, for Nigerians feel empowered to report it without fear, while money is returned; terrorists no longer hold any territory in Nigeria, and their leaders are deceased; and vast infrastructure development sets the country on course for sustainable and equitable growth.”  

Verification Process:

Although the President made extensive comments on different sectors, CDD/Daily Trust verified his claim on the economy, and found out that what the president said were largely false.

Verifying the president’s claim, Daily Trust analysed key economic indices which meet the World Bank’s criteria to ascertain whether an economy is performing or not. These criteria include inflation, debt level, exchange rate, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employment rate and distribution of natural resources.

Inflation

Nigeria’s inflation rate in 2015 was a single digit of 9.01 per cent. A breakdown of inflation figures year on year showed that inflation rate at the end of 2015 was 9.01 per cent. In 2016 at the thick of the recession, it skyrocketed to 15.68 per cent. In 2017, it further moved up to 16.52 per cent. It however slowed to 12.09 per cent in 2018 and later 11.40 in 2019.

It again rose to 15.75 per cent in December 2020 which is the highest recorded in the past three years.

In 2021, inflation rate rose for the first time in eight months to 15.63 per cent, the reason attributed to the high yuletide spending.

Subsequently, the latest Consumer Price Index report by the National Bureau of Statistics indicated that Nigeria’s inflation rose to 15.7 per cent in February from 15.6 per cent in January.

Inflation rose to its highest level since 2017, rising from 16.82% recorded in April 2022 to 17.71% in May, according to the recently released Consumer Price Index report, by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Debt

On debt level, as of 2015 before President Buhari took over power, Nigeria’s debt revenue stood at N8.8 trillion, according to the Debt Management Office

However, recent statistics from the DMO showed that Nigeria’s debt skyrocketed from N8.8 trillion in 2015 to N41 trillion as at June 2022. This represents an increment of over 500 per cent,

The country’s debt rose from N39.56 trillion in December 2021 to N41.60 trillion in the first three months of 2022 alone.

Fuel prices

In the same vein, checks by CDD/Daily Trust show that fuel price at the Buhari government’s inception stood at N87 per litre. As at May 2016, it had moved from N145 per litre representing a 66 per cent increase.

In 2020, it was further reviewed upwards to N162 per litre. The same year, the product sold for between N165 per litre and N220 per litre at the fueling stations. This was further compounded by the unavailability of the product with the major oil marketers saying they could not continue selling fuel at N165 per litre.

Exchange rate

In 2015 when President Buhari assumed office, the dollar was exchanging at N198/$ in the parallel market. By 2018, it was N306 to the dollar, and in 2019 it went up to N360 to the dollar and eventually exchanged at N520 in 2021.

From 2021 till date, the dollar at the parallel market is exchanging for between N600 to N610 as a result of the recently concluded party primaries where delegates were said to have been bribed with dollars.

Unemployment

Nigeria’s unemployment rate at the last quarter of 2015 stood at 10.4 per cent according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The figure went up to 14.2 per cent at the end of 2016. At the end of 2017, it moved up to 20.42 per cent. It moved up to 23.1 per cent in 2018 and the latest figures from the NBS indicate that unemployment rate now stands at 33.3 per cent.

Gross Domestic Product

A breakdown of the GDP figures from the National Bureau of Statistics and the World Bank from 2015 to 2020 shows that Nigeria’s GDP in 2015 when President Buhari assumed office stood at $486 billion; it declined to $404 billion when the country slipped into recession.

In 2017, GDP figures further declined to $375 billion. However in 2018, as the economy began to recover, the figures improved to $397 billion. In 2019, the figure surged to $448 billion.

By 2020, in the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic which affected virtually every sector of the world economy, Nigeria’s GDP figures declined to $432 billion.

The GDP figures were estimated to have risen to $440 billion in 2021, with 3.98% growth of the economy even though official figures by the World Bank are still being expected.

Conclusion:

Verifying the key economic parameters that determine if an economy is in a good shape, checks by CDD/Daily Trust show that the key economic indices as at 2015 were better than what is obtainable currently. As such, the claim by President Buhari that he is leaving a better economy for Nigerians is FALSE.

FACT CHECK: Did Arthur Eze Promise to Mount 200,000 Cameras In All Polling Units?

By 2023 Elections, Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fake News, PublicationsNo Comments

Verdict: FALSE

CLAIM:

A screenshot making the rounds claims that the founder and Chairman of Atlas Oranto Petroleum, Prince Arthur Eze, has volunteered to mount 200,000 cameras in all the polling units in Nigeria.

It reads: “Presently one of the richest Africans and Prince Arthur Eze has volunteered to mount 200,000 cameras all over polling units in Nigeria and has said that he won’t be alive for Peter Obi to be rigged out. He also said yesternight that he is donating first installment of $500 million to Obi campaign organization, wahala be like bicycle, we go shake Nigeria. Thanks Ozoigbondu.”

Verification Process

Currently there are 176,846 polling units across Nigeria as mapped out and demarcated by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). This number is in contrast with the planned 200,000 cameras for all polling units stated in the claim.

Probing further, available information shows that one may pay about $600 to install four or more wireless cameras, a recording system, and Cloud and Smart capabilities. Analyzing this number and cost, it is established that the cost of setting up 200,000 cameras is equivalent to $3 million.

According to multiple sources, Arthur Eze’s net worth is estimated to be around $5.8 billion. Although the amount for installation of the cameras including the claim on donating $500 million for Obi’s presidential campaign would not be difficult for Prince Eze to provide, it should be noted that he did not make the claim as circulated by social media users and blogs.

Conclusion

CDD/Daily Trust can confirm that there is no evidence that Prince Arthur Eze made the claim. The information should be disregarded by members of the general public.

FACT CHECK: Did High Court Nullify Ekiti APC Governorship Primary?

By Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fact Checks, Fake News, NewsNo Comments

Verdict: False

CLAIM:

A viral report claimed that the primary that produced Biodun Oyebanji as the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the Ekiti Governorship election holding this Saturday, 18 June, has been nullified by an Abuja High Court.

The rumor which was spread on social media and published by several blogs reads: “Less than 72 hours to the conduct of Saturday’s governorship election in Ekiti State, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Thursday nullified the All Progressives Congress primaries that produced its candidate in the poll, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji.

“The court cited irregularities in the conduct of the primaries conducted to nominate Oyebanji.”

Verification Process:

Daily Trust observed the two-paragraph report was reproduced across all platforms that published it.

Debunking the news, the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Segun Dupe, urged Ekiti people and party members to “disregard the rumour and discountenance it as the forlorn wish of some desperate politicians in the state, which cannot come to pass.”

He said, “The warped rumour is a demarketing gimmick of some desperate opposition who are unmindful of the fact that they are causing further damage to their zero chances at the poll, instead of enhancing it.

“…there were some cases filed by some disgruntled elements regarding the governorship primaries we organized in January this year, which saw to the emergence of Biodun Abayomi Oyebanji as the candidate of our party, but none has gone beyond the preliminary stage and all of them have been transferred back to Ekiti for hearing.

“No High Court is sitting on any matter regarding our primary in Abuja as at today. Furthermore, every matter relating to the primary has been adjourned till September this year. To the best of our knowledge, none is up for hearing at the moment.

“The only one perhaps is in the wildest imagination of our detractors, which cannot see the light of day. Our party remains focused on the coming election and sure of untainted victory at the end.”

The results of the primary announced by the Jigawa State Governor and Chairman of the Primary Election Committee, Mohammed Badaru, showed that Oyebanji, a former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), defeated other aspirants to emerge winner of the election which held in January.

He polled 101,703 votes, while his closest challengers; Ojo Kayode had 767, Opeyemi Bamidele had 760 and Dayo Adeyeye polled 691 votes.

Conclusion:

Available facts have proven the purported nullification of the Ekiti State APC governorship primary to be false. Thus, the viral report is misleading.

FACT CHECK: Did INEC Officials Prevent Igbos From Registering for PVC in Lagos?

By Blog, Election, Fact Check, Fact Checks, Fake News, News, PublicaitonsNo Comments

Verdict: False

CLAIM:

A Facebook video was posted by one Umuchiukwu Writers with the caption “Igbos living in Lagos denied PVC registration by Federal Government. Only Biafra will save Biafrans.”

In the video, a voice was heard saying in Igbo that “We have not been allowed to register for PVC in Lagos and we have been here since 7am. INEC officials are only attending to those who speak in Yoruba and some Yoruba chiefs were present and allowing only Yorubas to register.”

Verification

It was obvious there was no queue nor did the video show any INEC official or Yoruba chiefs.

Daily Trust reached out to Umuchiukwu Writers to verify the authenticity of the video.

He said it was recorded “at Igbede and Ojo areas in the Ojo Local Government Areas of Lagos State on June 9, 2022.”

He however admitted that he was not present at the location.

“I received information from our Igbo brothers there,” he noted.

Meanwhile, in an interview with our correspondent, INEC National Electoral Commissioner for Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, denied that Igbo people were prevented from collecting PVCs.

He said, “The Commission and its officials will not engage in or tolerate any case of voter suppression. The commission has not received any official complaint of voter suppression other than the trending videos. Every Nigerian of registrable age living in any part of Nigeria is entitled to register.

“It’s a sovereign constitutional right. The CVR process has been on for 11 months. The present surge is a peculiar Nigerian 11th-hour syndrome.  We have deployed additional IVED, fingerprint scanners, and Thermal Printers to states of acute pressure.

“We are monitoring the CVR process and will explore all options and do whatever is necessary to assist Nigerians register.”

Conclusion

Daily Trust can confirm that the video posted does not have enough evidence to the claim that INEC officials and some Yoruba chiefs prevented Igbos from registering for PVCs.

FACT CHECK: Did APC Not Engage In Vote Buying As Ekiti Governor-Elect Claimed?

By Blog, Constitution, Election, Fact Check, Fact Checks, Fake News, General, News, Publicaitons, PublicationsNo Comments

VERDICT: FALSE

Claim:
The Ekiti State Governor-elect, Mr. Biodun Oyebanji, has claimed that the All Progressives Congress did not engage in vote buying during the June 18, 2022 governorship election which held in the state.
Oyebanji made the claim on Monday while briefing State House correspondents after he was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by some party big-wigs led by the National Chairman, Senator Abdullahi Adamu, following his victory in the Saturday poll.


He said that as far as he was concerned, his party did not buy votes, while adding that he did
not witness the development in the polling unit where he voted in Ikogosi, Ekiti West LGA.


The governor-elect said he won the election based on the performance of the outgoing
administration in which he played a prominent role.

Verification Process:

In a bid to ascertain the veracity of the claim, Daily Trust looked at several reports by independent and non-partisan Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and the media who observed the election.

While some of the reports revealed in details the parties involved in voter inducement along with their locations and amounts involved, some others generally agreed to the fact that there was vote-buying across party lines.

According to the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) who was on the ground to observe the election, its observers documented 41 instances of vote buying and selling at polling units in LGAs like Ado-Ekiti, Ijero, Ikole Irepodun/Ifelodun, Ise/Orun and Moba.

The statement noted that one of the observable patterns of vote buying was the collection of cash in brown envelopes, which was apparently meant to disguise the content of the envelopes in order to avoid arrest by the anti-corruption agencies.

Also, in a post-election statement issued by another independent observer group, Yiaga Africa, vote buying was reported by its observers in ​​Alowodolu/Ojo – The Apostolic P.S Compound with PU code 13/09/04/00 in Ijero Ward D of Ijero LGA.

“Party agents from APC were reportedly sharing N7,000 to voters who showed how their ballot paper was marked. A similar report on vote-buying by APC was received from Open Space At Bamitale Along St. Mary’s Road in Ikere.

“Also, in Ogidi – in Ipoti Ward A, party agents from PDP and SDP were seen bribing voters. At ​​C. A. C. Gramm. Sch. / Ola Oluwa II with PU code 014 in Ado-Ekiti, APC party agent was also reportedly giving N5,000 to voters who confirmed they had voted for the party,” it stated.

Conclusion

Based on evidence contained in reports groups that observed the governorship election, it is not true that the APC didn’t engage in vote buying as claimed by Oyebanji.

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).

MALI’S FAKE NEWS ECOSYSTEM: An Overview

By Fake News, Publications

This study aims to better understand key facets of the ecosystem of fake news in Mali. It argues that the deteriorated political context in the country has facilitated the proliferation of fake news. The Malian fake news ecosystem is also thriving in the traditional media which is dominated by the political and economic elite who sponsor narratives to serve their own ends. Four of the top five newspapers in circulation in Mali mid-2021 are privately owned by politicians.