Last week, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) received numerous requests to fact-check some of the trending stories for the week. Among them was a claim published by the Independent Newspaper – now retracted – although already circulated by other online news outlets.
At the moment, the CDD is yet to independently verify the claims contained in the reports which have become the subject of online debate since the past week.
The CDD as a Think Tank with the vision and mandate to strengthen democracy and democratic institutions and values in Africa has been involved in researching and countering false information and narratives in West Africa since 2018. We have published 100s of fact-checks countering health misinformation, beginning from Ebola, to general and off-circle elections in Nigeria, Burkina Faso and others.
The Centre continues to implore members of the public to always verify every information before sharing them because it is clear that the spread of false information is capable of threatening our democracy, peaceful coexistence and development.
For instance, on Monday, April 12, 2021, fact-checkers at the CDD spotted a tweet made by a Twitter user @UchePOkoye with a picture of a young man, Salim Sani Zakariyya, and some inscription that read “Wanted, Boko Haram Suspect”.
Okoye’s tweet followed NewsWireNGR’s version of the story on the controversial piece on Pantami by the Daily Independent.
An investigation conducted by CDD shows that Salim Sani Zakariyya is not a Boko Haram suspect. A check through the list of Boko Haram suspects released by the Nigerian Military in the past shows that the young man was not listed as a suspected terrorist as claimed by Okoye in his tweet.
CDD’s investigation found that the Twitter user (@UchePOkoye) used Zakariyya’s profile picture from his Twitter handle to tag him as “Wanted Boko Haram Suspect” after Salim reacted to his tweet.
A mako na biyu na watan Maris din shekara ta 2021, masu bin diddigin labarai dan gano sahihancin su na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sun bankado tare da binciko gaskiyar wasu labaran karya da aka wallafa a kafafen sada zumunta na zamani irin su Facebook, Twitter da manhajar WhatsApp. Ga labaran nan kamar yadda wannan mujalla ta mu ta wallafa su:
Gwamnatin Tarayya Ba Ta Saye Manhajar WhatsApp Ba
Masu bin diddigin labarai dan gano sahihancin sa na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sun gano wani sako da aka wallafa a shafin Facebook da ke ikirarin cewa gwamnatin tarayyar Najeriya ta saye manhajar WhatsApp da ake amfani da ita wajen turawa da karbar sakonni.
Binciken da CDD ta aiwatar ya gano cewa gwamnatin Najeriya ba ta saye manhajar WhatApp din ba kamar yadda akayi ikirari. Karin binciken da CDD ta aiwatar ya gano cewa sakon da wanda wani mai lura da wani shafin Facebook mai suna “Best of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” ya wallafa shi dandalin Facebook din ya riga ya aiyana shi a matsayin labarin bogi.
Ba zai yiwu Facebook su sayar da kamfanin da ta samar dashi akan zabar kudi dala biliyan goma sha tara da digo uku ($19.3 billion), da ke da mallakar hannun jari da kudin su yakai dala biliyan sha biyu ($12 billion), abu ne da bazai yiwu ba ace an sayar dashi akan naira biliyan uku (3BN) kacal ga gwamnatin Najeriya.
Bayan gudanar da zuzzurfan bincike, CDD na tabbatar da cewa gwamnatin Najeirya ba ta saye manhajar WhatsApp ba kamar yadda sakon da aka yada a wasu shafukan sada zumunta na zamani ya bayyana. Domin karanta cikekken labarin latsa nan
Sheikh Sharif Ibrahim Saleh Bai Soki Dakatar Da Abduljabbar Nasiru Kabara Daga Wa’azi a Kano Ba
A ranar Alhamis, 4 ga watan Maris shekara ta 2021, masu binciken labarai dan tantance sahihancin su na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sun gano wata murya mai tsawon minti 9 da dakika 27 da aka nada kuma ake yadawa ta manhajar WhatsApp. Acikin muryar anyi dogon sharhi tare da sukar dakatar Malam Abdujjabar Nasiru Kabara daga gabatar al’amuran wa’azi a jahar Kano sakamakon cece-kuce da maganganun sa suka janyo. Wata gabatarwa da ake yadawa da muryar tace Sheikh Shariff Ibrahim Saleh Alhussain ne ya yi wannan jawabi.
Binciken da CDD ta gudanar ya gano cewa muryar da ake yadawa ta manhajar WhatsApp din ba ta Sheikh Shariff Ibrahim Saleh Alhussain ba ce. Hasalima Sheikh bai yi magana akan batun dakatar Abduljabbar ba balle ya soki al’amarin. CDD ta tuntubi da ga Sheikh Shariff Saleh, wato Engr. Almuntasir Ibrahim Saleh Alhaussain ya kuma bayyana cewa muryar da ake yadawa din ba ta mahaifin sa ba ce. Domin karanta cikekken labarin latsa nan
CDD na jan hankalin kafafen yada labarai da jama’a da su guji yada labaran karya ko wadan da basu da tabbacin sahihancin su. Kuna iya aikowa CDD labaran da kuke da shakku akansu dan tantance muku gaskiyar su ta hanyar aiko gajeren sako ko ta manhajar WhatsApp akan lamba: +2349062910568.
Wasu daga ciki labaran karya da CDD ta bankado tare da wallafa su
The second wave of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the mutation of the virus into various variants, and the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccination by several countries in Africa, including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, and Ivory Coast has led to the spread of disinformation and conspiracy theories around the vaccines.
According to medical experts, vaccination is the single most efficient way to reduce deaths and severe illness from COVID-19. For the world to fully beat the pandemic, all hands must be on the deck to fight misinformation arising from them.
On the other hand, the spread of disinformation, conspiracy theories and fake news surrounding vaccines is the single most effective way to keep the pandemic going.
In the last one week, online conversations have been dominated by vaccine production, its acceptance by the public and the administration. While one cannot deny that vaccines have side effects – all vaccines and medicines have some side effects – these side effects need to be constantly balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.
With the social media space flooded with various claims on the side effects of the COVID-19 vaccines, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) have continued to call for verification of all information before sharing.
FGN Did Not Buy WhatsApp Messaging App for 3BN
On March 10, 2021, the CDD spotted a post on Facebook claiming that messaging Application, WhatsApp, has been bought by the Nigerian Government.
The Facebook user claimed said the application was bought by the Federal Government of Nigeria at the sum of three billion (no currency was indicated).
Also, the post claimed that all users of WhatsApp should endeavour to leave the app immediately to another one (signal App) as they would now be monitored by the Nigerian government.
The claim read in part: “You will be tracked! Leave WhatsApp now! Go to Signal app now!” reads an excerpt from the post. Signal is an end-to-end encrypted instant messaging app.”
Checks by CDD show that contrary to the claim, the Nigerian Government has not acquired WhatsApp messaging app.
An investigation by CDD also shows that the post made on Facebook by a handler, “Best of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu” has been marked by the social media company as fake news.
Facebook in a reaction to the post said that the information made by the handler has been checked by independent fact-checkers and confirmed to be false.
A further check showed that the social media company in a response to AFP described the information as false.
On Thursday, March 4, 2021, fact-checkers at the CDD spotted a WhatsApp audio recording claiming that Sheikh Sharif Saleh made comments on the recent Sheikh Abduljabbar’s preaching suspension saga.
In the recording – done in Hausa – a commentator (claiming to be the voice of Sheikh Saleh) expressed disappointment on the decision to suspend the cleric from conducting preaching activities in Kano State.
He said information available to him indicates that Sheikh Kabara’s worship centre has been sealed off by the Kano State Government.
He said the sealing of the worship centre is a gang up against Sunni clerics, Darika and other sects.
The commentator continued: “The method used by the clerics sounds funny and embarrassing and any responsible person that knows about the matter will understand that he was treated unfairly because his statements were shortened and edited”
An investigation conducted by CDD on the viral audio clip established showed that as of March 11, 2021, Sheikh Shariff Saleh, has not reacted to the suspension of Sheikh Kabara as claimed in the WhatsApp audio.
Checks by the CDD also revealed that the voice in the audio circulated on WhatsApp is not Sheikh Saleh’s.
When contacted on the matter, Sheikh Saleh’s so, Engr. Almuntasir Ibrahim Saleh Al-Hussain told the CDD fact-checker that the claim in the audio is false.
Al-Husain said his father never said anything on the suspension of Sheikh Kabara.
“Well, I listened to the said audio clip that was trending on WhatsApp, and I can categorically confirm to you that neither the voice nor the content is Sheikh’s and even the message does not reflect Maulana’s opinion on this matter in any way,” Al-Hussain said.
Last week, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD’s) newsletter examined the dangers of disinformation (fake news) to the corporate existence of Nigeria as a nation. While fake news is not a new phenomenon, over time, the spread of disinformation has taken various dimensions. To survive the times, one must be cautious of claims or narratives that come in the form of advisory and how to do things. Individuals should also be able to differentiate between real news and fake news especially on social media.
Here are five steps to identify fake news on social media
Does It Sound Sensational Or Cause You To React?
Fake news is usually written to create “shock value,” that is, a strong automatic reaction such as anger or fear. Disinformation can be spread using many of the same tactics as misinformation—hoaxes, click-bait, fabricated reports. Disinformation is created to deceive so we need to approach content on social media with a critical mind.
Check The Source
You can do this by answering the following questions: have you come across a story from that source or heard of it before, does the web address for the page look suspicious, or is it mimicking a known web address? Check spelling errors in company names, or unfamiliar extensions like “.infonet” and “.offer,” rather than “.com” or “.co.uk, or ‘.org” may mean that the source is suspect.
Check To See If Other Sources Are Reporting The Story
Credible news sources train their journalists to include plenty of facts – quotes from experts, survey data and official statistics and detailed eye-witness accounts that are consistent and corroborated from people on the scene. If these are missing, question the story or narratives it trying to spread!
Be Curious of Images
There are now a thousand and one applications online and in use that can be used to alter, doctor or even recreate images and videos. This editing software has made it easy for people to create fake images that look real and not many can tell if an image is fake. When in doubt, check for more details about the image. You can also do a reverse image search using www.images.google/com or www.tineye.com to check where an image was created and whether it has been altered.
Fake news on social media may be unavoidable especially with the unprecedented volume of disinformation being circulated in Nigeria and globally. But you can help stop the spread by thinking critically. Maintain a healthy level of curiosity for what you read on your timeline, understand that social media platforms curate what you see based on an algorithm derived from data gathered from your online behaviours. What this means is that the news you see on your feed is filtered based on previously collected data and this awareness can help you become more conscious of your own inherent bias.
If platforms notice that you frequently quick to click on stories that say COVID-19 is a scam, for example, more of such news will appear on your timeline.
In view of this the CDD countered a couple of false claims using fact-checking tools in the past week. One of such is the claim that some Fulanis residents in Kano have been asked to vacate the State.
The claim read in parts “ Hausas in Kano have asked the Fulanis to leave northern Nigeria while breaking the exclusive Fulani mosque. Behold the Ottoman Dan Fodio prophecy of about 220 years is happening before our very eyes. DAN.”
Also attached to the claim was a video of people seen vandalizing a mosque.
Investigations carried out by CDD revealed that the claim that Fulanis have been asked to vacate Kano State is false.
More checks showed that the video attached to the broadcast was from a clash in Billiri Local Government Area of Gombe State and not from Kano as claimed.
Has WHO Made A U-turn On Isolation and Social Distancing?
On February 25, 2021, fact-checkers at the Centre spotted a WhatsApp broadcast claiming that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has completely made a U-turn on Coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols and guidelines.
The broadcast claimed that the international health body made a declaration that individuals infected with COVID-19 do not need to be isolated or quarantined as the virus cannot be transmitted from one patient to another.
Checks by CDD show that the claim that WHO has declared that individuals infected with COVID-19 need not isolate is false. An investigation carried out by CDD fact-checkers reveals that the claim is not new and had trended on July 16, 2020.
The broadcast resurfaced on WhatsApp has continued to be spread across groups on the platform.
Further checks show in its advice on preventive measures against COVID-19, the WHO has continued to urge the public to public themselves and their loved ones by taking some simple precautions, such as physical distancing and wearing a mask.
Also, WHO notes that keeping rooms well ventilated, avoiding crowds, cleaning your hands, and coughing into a bent elbow or tissue is imperative in protecting oneself and others.
Also, the Centre with support from the MacArthur Foundation organized an Advanced Strategic Communication Training for 30 participants from various Anti-Corruption Agencies in Nigeria. The training which took place at the Legend Hotel, Ikeja Lagos was facilitated by the International Press Centre.
Nigeria is working towards acquiring its first batch of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine. While Nigeria’s domestic development agency for health, National Primary Health Care Development Agency and philanthropist Bill Gates argue over which is more important, investing in Primary Health Care or COVID-19 vaccines, Nigerians for whom the argument is taking place on their behalf are more concerned with how the latter is behind a scheme to depopulate Africa.
The conspiracy theory linking Bill Gates to a plot to depopulate Africa using dubious means has been around for a while, but it became popular at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. This conspiracy has been targeted at Africans especially Nigeria and South Africa.
But no one has been able to provide evidence to prove these claims. While fact-checkers battle these conspiracy theories around Africa, the spread of the new coronavirus variant has led to the rise of a fresh wave of dangerous conspiracy theories.
Along with the belief in other conspiracy theories – such as that the world is run by a secret cabal – the YouGov-Cambridge Globalism Project, a survey of about 26,000 people in 25 countries designed in collaboration with the Guardian, found widespread and concerning skepticism about vaccine safety.
The report published by the Guardian late last year revealed that a ‘’significant numbers of people around the world believe Covid-19 was created deliberately, has killed far fewer people than reported, or is a hoax and does not exist, according to a global survey.’’
The report says respondents in Nigeria and Greece were most likely to believe the Covid-19 fatality rate had been exaggerated.
Are you an expert on the Fake News Ecosystem in any of the West African Countries with good research skills? We are looking for you.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is looking to recruit up to fifteen (15) researchers to undertake studies in each of the 15 ECOWAS member states (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote D’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo) that will assess the misinformation and disinformation eco-system.
Those selected will work with CDD’s research coordinator to produce a country report based on a review of relevant regional and country-specific literature and key informant interviews. They will also be expected to participate in two (virtual) workshops – one at the start of the project to support the development of the key themes to explore and one at the end to highlight key trends that can feed into a regional report.
A new ranking by the Global To Go Think Tank Index of the University of Pennsylvania has ranked the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) as the top-rank civil society think tank organisation in Nigeria.
The 2020 report released Thursday, January 28, 2021, also rated CDD as number 11 in Sub-Sahara, moving up from its 16th position in the institution’s last report. CDD takes the lead after Ethiopia Policy Studies Institute (PSI) FNA Ethiopia Development Research Center and African Economic Research Consortium (AERC, Kenya) which ranked nine and 10 respectively.
Following CDD on the table of top 15 Sub-Saharan think tanks are the Centre Ivoirien de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (CIRES) (Côte d’Ivoire), Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network (FANRPAN) (South Africa), Centre for Development and Enterprise (CDE) (South Africa) and the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) (South Africa) on 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions.
Referred to as the “think tanks’ think tank,” TTCSP said it examines the evolving role and character of public policy research organizations and over the last 30 years, the program has developed and led a series of global initiatives.
In her reaction to the ranking, the Director of CDD, Idayat Hassan, said while this is a pat on the back for the work done by the Centre to strengthen democracy and improve good governance in Nigeria and the West African region, this is also a call to do more.
Hassan said: “This means more and more work for us at the CDD, but the fact remains that we at the Centre will not relent in our effort to promote the values of democracy, peace and human rights in Africa, particularly in the West African sub-region.”
How I Lost My Wife, 4 Children To Flood – 50-Year-Old Man Narrates In New Documentary
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 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.
Ahead of the governorship election in Ondo state, eleven (11) governorship aspirants of the All Progressive Congress (APC) have rejected the indirect mode of a primary election. They petitioned the party’s Caretaker/Extra-Ordinary National Convention Planning Committee (CEONCPC), rejecting the planned indirect mode of primary election slated on July 20.
The aspirants said, having traversed the length and breadth of Ondo State and interfaced with party members as aspirants, they can confidently inform that overwhelming majority of our party members prefer direct primary for the nomination of the party’s candidate for the 2020 governorship election.
The letter which contained other reasons why the candidates felt the indirect primary was not an option was submitted by Chief Olusola Oke, one of the aspirants, on behalf of others at the national chairman’s office.
Only the incumbent Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu who is seeking a second term did not append his signature. It was gathered that the aspirants were reacting to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) indicating that the indirect mode of the primary election had been approved for the primary.
CDD fact checkers have spotted a trending news report by the Midwest Herald, a Community Newspaper in Nigeria. The news story has been sighted on social media platforms including WhatsApp. The report claimed that the Chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr. Adams Oshiomhole is plotting the return of Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu to the APC to wrestle power from his predecessor, Governor Godwin Obaseki. Pastor Ize-Iyamu was the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Edo state governorship election in 2016.
Midwest Herald claimed it received a reliable information that there was a private meeting between the two politicians in Oshiomhole’s Benin City home, where the National Chairman received Pastor Ize-Iyamu with a general feeling of ‘forebodness’.
The report had garnered about a hundred (100) views immediately it was published and had gone viral on WhatApp groups focused specially on Edo State politics. The newspaper quoted its source:
“Oga was shocked to see pastor and he joked with him that he was monitoring him. Pastor requested for a meeting and they agreed to meet in Abuja for discussion.”
CDD Fact checkers contacted Pastor Ize-Iyamu, who refuted the claimed. According to him, he had never had a private meeting with the formal Edo State Governor. The statement made available to our fact checker reads:
“Not true. I have told Orobosa Omo Ojo (the) publisher of the paper about the falsehood. I have never been to Oshiomhole’s house in Benin nor discussed with him about going to APC. We met on Wednesday morning at the Benin Airport and he volunteered to carry me to Abuja with the private plane waiting for him. He extended the same gesture to Pastor and Mrs Charles Osazuwa of Rock of Ages Church. We followed him, got to Abuja safely, thanked him and I left with Pastor and Mrs Osazuwa.”
The position was also corroborated by the newspaper in the report.
While it is true that Mr. Adams Oshiomhole, the Chairman of the APC and Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the PDP stalwart met, it is evident that the purpose was not for the return of the later to the APC as claimed in the News Headline. It is obvious that the newspaper caption is fake and misleading and ultimately aimed to disinform by causing disaffection among supported of the political actors. Edo state, which is heading for a governorship poll in 2020 has been in the news recently over alleged dispute between Governor Obaseki and the Mr. Oshiomhole; this news story is therefore aimed to worsen the political crisis in the state.
Verdict: False Claim: On 5th June, a story appeared on the website – ‘saharanews.co’ which made a number of spurious claims. The claims were that northern governors accused GEJ of killing northerners, and prevented the sales of arms to Nigeria which could have aided in the war against Boko Haram, the article further claims that since Buhari is now president the embargo has been lifted.
Fact: Investigations by CDD fact checkers found that the post was copied from the popular Nigerian message board – Nairaland. The reason the U.S. under Obama had an embargo which prevented the sale of arms to Nigeria, was because of the existence of the Leahy Law. The Leahy Laws or Leahy amendments are U.S. human rights laws that prohibit the U.S. Department of State and Department of Defence from providing military assistance to foreign security force units that violate human rights with impunity.
This law has been heavily criticised by President Buhari. He has also not responded to organizations, like the Amnesty International’s reports of human rights violations by the Nigerian military, especially in the north east.
Conclusion: The claim is entirely FALSE, former governors did not work with former President Obama to deprive Nigeria the sales of arms to fight Boko Haram.
Verdict: FALSE Claim:
CDD has spotted a news circulating on Social media, and traditional media space, claiming that the EFCC arrested Immediate pasted Governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha and his wife. The reports came in the early hours of 30th May, 2019, on different news site including pulseNG, Concise News, informationng and went viral on different social media spaces “Rochas Okorocha arrested just a day after he ended his tenure as Imo state governor. The reports added that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes commission have arrested former Imo state governor, Rochas Okorocha and his wife Nkechi”. The Fact
Fact Checkers at CDD reached out to EFCC Spokesperson, Mr. Tony Orilade who stated that EFCC had not done any of such as claimed by reports. Orilade said, “Such report that Okorocha and wife have been arrested is fake News”. Daily Post and Punch Newspapers also released reports supporting EFCC’s statement verified from Mr. Orilade that the claim should be disregarded as it is a malicious deception. Conclusion: The Claim that EFCC arrested Okorocha and Wife is False, it is aimed to mislead the general populace.
Verdict: False Claim: The CDD have spotted a story circulating on WhatsApp alleging that Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, (MACBAN) are insisting that the sum of N3.8 billion financial contribution made to the APC gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State Mr Nsima Ekere, and his godfather, Senator Godswill Akpabio is returned to them.
The claim further alleged that Nsima Ekere entered into an MOU dated January 15, 2019, with the Miyetti Allah to release lands in 31 local councils in the State for the establishment of Cattle Colonies if elected governor. Nsima Ekere was also said to have agreed to appoint Fulani Heads, to be known as Sarkin Fulani for the Cattle Colonies, with the Sarkin Fulani having the same status as Traditional Rulers. The MOU was alleged to have been signed by Nsima Ekere and Alhaji Muhammadu Kirowa and Baba Ngelzarma as the National President and Secretary on behalf of the Miyetti Allah.
The Facts: CDD fact checkers traced the story to an online blog, nigerianconcord. A blog established in February 2016. A cursory look on the blog reveals it as an outlet for political news, but most of the reports on the platform are mainly misinformation. The information on the platform suggests it is sympathetic to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Benue and Akwa Ibom States. The Blog adoption of the name Nigerian Concord may also be strategic as it seeks to pass itself off as the prestigious former Concord Newspaper.
On the 6th of March, nigerianconcord made similar claims in a news report prompting a response from the Akwa Ibom state APC who vehemently denied the allegations.
To further confirm or debunk the story, CDD fact checkers contacted the Miyetti Allah’s national secretary, Usman Baba-Ngelzarma, who denied sponsoring or entering into an MOU with Nsima Ekere or APC, Akwa Ibom. In his words:
“We are not aware of this. We have no business with the man, we don’t know about it, we have never had anything to do with the Awka Ibom APC, and we don’t know where the source of this news is from, it’s not from Miyetti Allah. We have no business with any political activity; this information is one of these fake news;” he said.
Also, when contacted, the spokesperson of the APC campaign council in Akwa Ibom State, Hon. Eseme Eyibo told CDD that the malicious news was of the making of mischief makers. “There is no need to fact check that. Was any money given in the first place, how was it given, through whom? This is a malicious fiction;” he said.
Available facts show that there is a credibility question of the blog from where this story originated. The blog failed to present enough evidence to back up their claims. The involved parties have also denied any involvement in the story outrightly calling it fake news. The political bias of the blog as evident in its publications casts further doubts on their genuine intentions thus justifying our verdict that the claims made therein are politically motivated and FALSE.
Following a report by reuters.com on the 2nd of April, that Exxon Mobil recently held talks on the sale of a suite of oil and gas fields in Nigeria as the company focuses on new developments in US shale and Guyana. There have been speculations on social media platforms that Exxon is relocating from Nigeria.
CDD fact checkers contacted the spokesperson of ExxonMobil, who stated that the oil giant is committed to its long term business in Nigeria. “It’s not true. Exxon Mobil is committed to its long term business operations in Nigeria, and we do not as a matter of practice discuss ongoing business discussion with people”, the spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, Richard Laing, Executive Director and Production Manager had on the 3rd of April released a statement, further debunking the claim stating that, “You may have seen some media reports yesterday about the sale of our Nigeria business. Please disregard these reports, as ExxonMobil remains committed to long-term business operations in Nigeria”.
The claim that Exxon Mobil is relocating from Nigeria is entirely false.
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) was established in the United Kingdom in 1997 and subsequently registered in Lagos – Nigeria in 1999 as an independent, not-for-profit, research, training, advocacy and capacity building organisation. The Centre was established to mobilise global opinion and resources for democratic development and provide an independent space to reflect critically on the challenges posed to the democratization and development processes in West Africa, and also to provide alternatives and best practices to the sustenance of democracy and development in the region.
CDD envisions a West Africa that is democratically governed, economically integrated – promoting human security and people centered development. The mission of the centre is to be the prime catalyst and facilitator for strategic analysis and capacity building for sustainable democracy and development in the West African sub-region.
Following expansion of our work and the need to create career opportunity for younger generation, the organization requires Interns to fill following positions in its Abuja office.
CDD is known for offering unique working experience to new set of young population in Nigeria and West Africa. The internship programme has in the past recorded success in providing practical work experience by working with outstanding career professionals and senior staff with vast experience in governance, peace and security across West Africa. As a continuation of our tradition, this internship programme is designed to:
Attract pool of young talented and potential employees;
Create an opportunity for career development for its successful participants;
Further create a network of advocates for CDD’s engagements/activities; and
Provide support and improved work outputs for existing program, administrative and finance staff.
Internship is available on a short term basis of not more than six months. Job Description/Eligibity Criteria Programme Intern – Person Specification
Degree in the Social Sciences, Humanities or related field
Knowledge of Elections, Peace & Security and/or Gender issues in West Africa,
Fluency in both English and French is an added advantage,
Excellent analytical, writing and ‘actioning’ skills
Ability to thrive under pressure with limited support
Effective and persuasive communication skills
Excellent inter-personal, presentational and public speaking skills
Excellent IT Skills
Assist in organizing events and outreach activities that the organization is working on.
Provide support in tracking and monitoring newspaper reports and press clippings on elections, policies and programmes of government, security issues and other thematic issues that the organization is working on.
Assist with relevant research reports for and writing of proposals to donor agencies.
Assist with transcription of interviews and any recording that are useful for the work of the organization.
Provide support in the preparation of reports to donor agencies and for CDD annual reports.
Represent the Centre at meetings, networks and coalitions
Carrying out other responsibilities that may be assigned from time to time by the Head of Programme.
Communications Intern – Person Specification
Degree in Mass Communication, English Language, Communication Art, or any related course.
At least one years’ experience in books publication
Ability to organize press conferences at short notice
Fluency in both English and French is an added advantage,
Excellent analytical, writing and ‘actioning’ skills
Ability to thrive under pressure with limited support
Ability to develop visualization and manage website
Effective and persuasive communication skills
Excellent inter-personal, presentational and public speaking skills
IT Skills, video coverage and editing.
Provide support in coordinating the media on disseminating information about CDD programmes, activities, and events.
Management of organization’s websites and social media platforms.
Assist in writing r and disseminating press releases on CDD’s work to media
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The issues that will define the 2016 Ghana general election are the same problems that plagued Nigeria in the 2015 general election: unemployment, corruption, incessant power outages or lack of electricity, a dual tax burden on the working class, an increasing debt portfolio and dearth of infrastructural development.
Ghana, West Africa’s poster child for democracy, goes to the polls on Wednesday December 7 to elect new leaders. As the presidential election draws closer, the word on the street is that it will be a straight contest between the National Democratic Congress (NDC) and the National Patriotic Party (NPP). It is as yet uncertain whether the Nkrumaist elements can claim enough votes to emerge as a third force in the electoral system.
The last election, held in 2012, featured the same leading presidential candidates: incumbent President John Mahama (NDC) and opposition leader Nana Akufo Ado (NPP). Just like neighbouring Nigeria, John Mahama assumed office as the president of Ghana following the death of his principal, Atta Mills. In a tightly run race, Mahama emerged as the winner of the December 2012 election. Same candidates, same scenarios, and the NPP candidate is also running for the third time in twelve years (in another similarity, Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari ran for president four times before emerging as the winner in 2015).
The campaign slogans of the political parties pervade the air: the NDC is running its campaign with the mantra “transforming lives” while the opposition NPP is running a “change agenda”. Can Ghana recreate the change experienced in Nigeria last year, when opposition defeated incumbent? Even as controversial Nigerian governor, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti state, several days ago called on Ghanaians not to fall for the change mantra because change has brought problems to Nigeria, the question remains: can change be replicated in the Ghana election?
There are around 25 political parties contesting in the general election, with only seven candidates in the presidential election (six representing political parties and one as an independent). This is an improvement on the initial four candidates cleared by the Ghana Electoral Commission (EC). The EC had previously disqualified 12 presidential nominees from contesting in the election due to issues including errors on forms, forgery, incomplete forms, different signatures of nominees and invalid endorsement. This led the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and (NDP) to approach the court and, ruling in their favour, the EC was mandated to allow disqualified candidates to correct mistakes on their nomination documents.
In fact, there have been recurrent problems surrounding the EC in the run up to the election. The first skirmish between the people and the EC commenced with the introduction of the new logo by Ms. Charlotte Osei on assumption of office as the chair of the Commission. The Ccommission was criticised in several quarters for introducing a new logo instead of concentrating on updating the voters’ register, while some even attached diabolical connotations to the logo.
The Ghanaian election has, however, been completely judicialised. This is inspiring, and should serve as a very interesting lesson to her neighbour, Nigeria. One such interesting case is the use of National Health Insurance (NHIS) cards as a means of identity verification when voting. In 2014, the plaintiff (Abu Ramadan and Evans Nimako) obtained a perpetual injunction restraining the EC from using NHIS cards as identity cards for voter registrations. However, the plaintiff again approached the Supreme Court for an order requesting the EC expunge from the voters’ register the names of all persons who registered and voted in the 2012 election using their NHIS card as proof of identity. In delivering its judgement, the Supreme Court ordered the deletion of the names of all those who registered with NHIS cards and further ruled that the EC remove the names of all other ineligible persons, including the names of deceased persons. The EC nevertheless refrained from rendering the voter register invalid.
The lack of trust in the EC and its leadership is a worrisome development, alongside other accusations and counter-accusations of abuse of processes. The EC has also been accused of favouring a particular political party. The leadership of the EC has a lot to do to debunk the allegations levelled against it…
Another issue generating rancour between the EC and the political parties is the special vote and its procedure for the election. The special vote allows registered voters who aren’t able to vote at their polling unit on election day, to apply to vote on an appointed day ahead of the election day. At first, an initial 65,000 people were announced to be on the list. However, this list was updated to 114,813 people and has now been increased further to 127,394 people. There are allegations that new people – specifically, newly recruited police officials – were added to the list, less than 42 days before the election, and after the legal time limit for registering. This has led some political parties to argue that the EC is not conforming to its own rules and regulations, including the Ghanaian Constitution of 1992.
A further problem faced by the EC is that it was sued with relation to the special voting procedure. This occurred because three members of the NPP approached the court requesting that the results of the special voting be announced at the closure of the polls. However, the Supreme Court dismissed the suit. Altogether, in no small way has the EC of Ghana come under serious attack from the political parties. Even so, it is commendable that at every point in time such matters have been addressed in court. It must be pointed out that the plethora of cases brought before the court have caused concern among many pundits and citizens, leading to widespread doubt that the election would be held according to schedule.
The lack of trust in the EC and its leadership is a worrisome development, alongside other accusations and counter-accusations of abuse of processes. The EC has also been accused of favouring a particular political party. The leadership of the EC has a lot to do to debunk the allegations levelled against it – whether founded or unfounded. It must immediately prioritise building trust in the system and winning the hearts of citizens.
As election day draws closer, Ghanaian politicians are securing endorsement left, right and centre. Endorsement has been pouring in from celebrity artists, chiefs, business moguls, and even men of God are no exception. In fact, Rev. Prophet Owusu Bempah of the Glorious Word Power Ministry prophesied that the NPP Presidential Candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, would win the 2016 election.
As is the case with many politicians across Africa, President Mahama has been utilising the power of incumbency to unveil new projects. These mostly involve physical infrastructural development across the country but also include controlling media spaces with his adverts and billboards plastered across the country. This is complemented by the Rock Da Vote concerts hosted by Ovation International. The concerts, which can be likened to the concerts organised by Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria (TAN), showcase the infrastructural development of President Mahama. To further complement Ovation International’s efforts, popular Nigerian comedian, Osuofia, was also invited to Ghana to campaign in support of President Mahama.
Does either of the two leading political parties in Ghana have the magic wand to resolve the major problems plaguing the country? That will be decided by Ghanaians when they go the polls to choose between the slogans of “change agenda” or “transforming lives”.
The stakes in the election are so high that the two leading political parties, NPP and NDC, are busy promising El Dorado, to woo voters. For instance, the NPP have promised to build a factory in each district of the country. In an attempt to counter this promise, the NDC have promised to pay members of the 216 Assemblies in Ghana salaries as against the existing practice of sitting allowance. Citizens groups have been playing a key role in holding these politicians accountable by keeping records of the promises they have been making. IMANI Centre is already running extensive analysis of the Ghanaian election by tracking the political parties’ manifestos and how they match citizens’ expectations. We can all but expect the group to initiate a promise-tracking mechanism like Nigeria’s Buharimeter to monitor the implementation of campaign promises of the eventual winner of the election.
In an unfortunate challenge to free speech, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), John Kudalor, in May, considered the idea of Ghanaian authorities shutting down social media platforms during the election. This was in spite of the fact that Ghana is the first country in West Africa to announce its election results on Facebook. In 2012, the results of the presidential election were announced via Facebook after the EC websites went down due to technical challenges. It would have been a sad occurrence if West Africa’s beacon of democracy had allowed Mr. Kudalor’s idea to sail through.
The Ghanaian election has also been replete with political violence. The sudden phenomenon of henchmen has creeped into the polity. These are mostly local vigilantes loyal to the leading political parties. Prominent amongst these groups are the ruling NDC’s “Azorka Boys” and the opposition NPP’s “Bolga Bull Dogs” and “Invincible Forces”. However, the NDC continues to claim that they have no vigilante groups, while the NPP has argued that the lack of equity on the part of security forces makes keeping local vigilantes loyal to their cause inevitable.
Only a few days before the election, the atmosphere is tense after disputes between the NPP and NDC. The NPP has made new allegations against the NDC presidential candidate and his brother for attempting to bribe the NPP Northern Region Vice Chair, Bugri to leave the NPP. Bugri alleged he was offered several SUVs and money to blaspheme NPP and its candidate in the election. This has generated a lot of backlash between the two parties, with calls for investigation and prosecution.
The issues that will define the 2016 Ghana general election are the same problems that plagued Nigeria in the 2015 general election: unemployment, corruption, incessant power outages or lack of electricity, a dual tax burden on the working class, an increasing debt portfolio and dearth of infrastructural development. Does either of the two leading political parties in Ghana have the magic wand to resolve the major problems plaguing the country? That will be decided by Ghanaians when they go the polls to choose between the slogans of “change agenda” or “transforming lives”. However, what people really crave is a glimmer of hope. Idayat Hassan is the director of the Centre for Democracy and Development, Abuja and tweets at @hassanidayat
ECOWAS and the Federal Republic of Nigeria have stressed the need to continue working together for the stability, peace and security of the West African region.
The renewed faith in closer collaboration was voiced by both the Chair of the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Nigerian Leader President Muhammed Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa, Abuja, Nigeria on the 5th of December 2016.
Chairperson Sirleaf, also the president of Liberia was in Nigeria to be updated on the focus, direction and challenges of the work at the ECOWAS Commission. In the course of her mission, she met with senior officials of ECOWAS institutions as part of preparations for the reports to be made at the Summit of the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government planned for December 2016 in Abuja.
Conferring with President Muhammadu Buhari at the instance of the ECOWAS Commission President Marcel de Souza, Chairperson Sirleaf said she cherishes the opportunity to brief the Nigerian leader on some of her findings during two days of consultations with the commission and to also share with him issues of political and economic development as well the maintenance of peace and stability.
“I can also accept his wise counsel as to how we all go about working together as a unified region towards achieving our goals” She added
Responding, president Buhari congratulated Chairperson Sirleaf for her forthrightness in handling ECOWAS affairs and the growing stability in the region despite the many challenges that the Commission and other ECOWAS institutions are grappling with.
Pledging Nigeria’s support for ECOWAS initiatives aimed at achieving greater integration, President Buhari agreed that the situation in the region is relatively stable but stressed the need for patience and accommodation while persuading all “to show appreciation of the efforts of ECOWAS in making sure that more attention is paid to security and development”
At an earlier meeting with staff of the ECOWAS Commission, chairperson Sirleaf urged the ECOWAS workforce to continue to raise the community banner aloft and to take ECOWAS up in the global arena with commitment to high work ethics and standards as well as unflagging dedication to duty.
The ECOWAS Commission staff responded positively to president de Souza’s submission that “human resources is the best capital any organization can have”. The Staff Representative Dr. Tony Elumelu extolled the leadership qualities of Madam Sirleaf and shared the optimism of the ECOWAS workforce of a better deal in the days ahead.
Conferring with the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament Mustapha Cisse Lo and senior officials, President Sirleaf who took in briefings on the Parliament’s programmes and strides, stressed among others, the need for a closer look at resource mobilization as compelled by changing global situations. She accepted to receive a high powered parliamentary delegation in Monrovia in April 2017.
Chairperson Sirleaf also met the President of the ECOWAS Court of Justice Jérôme Traoré and other judges of the Community judicial Institution. After a closed door session, she urged ECOWAS Community judges to protect the rights of citizens noting that if all is done to protect such rights, there would be no need to seek redress in another institution.
Maintaining that equity must also be gender sensitive, she told the gathering at the Community court room: “Justice is a fundamental right of every individual and every state. We have felt the result of injustice and have seen how it can manifest negatively on the progress of societies”
President Sirleaf who was flanked at all the events by President de Souza, the vice president of the ECOWAS Commission Mr. Edward Singhatey, Liberian Foreign Affairs Minister Marjon Kamara, Commissioners in charge of ECOWAS Departments and other senior officials, rounded up her familiarization tour by assuring the media that ECOWAS would do all it can to be on top of all the economic and political challenges in the region including complex situations such as has arisen in Guinea Bissau.
While in Abuja, Chairperson Sirleaf was also given gifts (an artwork of the famous artist Modupeola Fadugbe) by the ECOWAS staff an another by the women of the ECOWAS Court of Justice in solidarity with her vision, exemplary leadership and sensitivity to gender matters.
President Sirleaf is the pioneer female leader to chair the Authority of the ECOWAS Heads of State and Government and also the first in that capacity to meet directly with an assembly of staff of ECOWAS
This meeting is intended to discuss overall issues of arms proliferations; arms stockpile management, arms productions, transfer and trade. It would also examine among other things, the porosity of the Nigeria land borders, water ways and seaports and airports. Although this conversation will be moderated, it would apply Chatham House rules. Unlike other meetings, CDD will lay down the problem and allow participants in a round table to speak, analyse and make practicable recommendations which will form part of the communiqué that will be issued at the end of the day. The early part of the conversation will discuss the state of affairs with SALW, policy issues, government, security institutions and non-state actors while the second session will be used to make actionable recommendations.
The meeting is to have audience from United Nations Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Africa (UNREC), Presidential Committee on Small Arms and Light Weapons – PRESCOM, ECOWAS, Nigerian Immigration Services, Nigerian Customs Services, Police, West African Action Network on Small Arms and Light Weapons (WAANSA), Nigeria Army, Nigeria Navy, Nigeria Air force, Nigeria Governors Forum, NSCDC, Foreign Affairs Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC).
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