Following on the commitment of our partner, National Orientation Agency (NOA), to train 37, 000 fact-checkers, 1000 drawn from each state of the federation, the NOA has started Course-2 of the National Fact-Checking Course. The course is designed to build on the success of the Course One by strengthening the capacity of critical stakeholders drawn from paramilitary and public-facing government parastatals.
In his opening remarks, the Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Garba Abari, enjoined participants to consider the training as a call to national service. As fact-checkers, he encouraged all fake news was causing unimaginable divisions in the country. As fact-checkers, he encouraged all to be neutral in the way they approach claims they investigate and forgo biases in the interest of protecting the peace and unity of the country.
In her goodwill message to flag off the course, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), Ms. Idayat Hassan, who was represented at the ceremony by CDD Senior Program Officer Austin Aigbe, traced CDD’s relationship with NOA back to the 2019 elections where both organisations joined hands to debunk widely distributed misinformation and disinformation to huge success.
She anticipated that as we approach the general election year in 2021, major political parties would once again roll out their disinformation machines to fabricate and disseminate falsehoods designed to sway voters their way. The fact-checking Course was designed to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to anticipate and debunk falsehoods.
Resource persons for this course two series were drawn from NOA, Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) with support from the Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, and DAFUDA, amongst others.