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Fake News - Centre for Democracy & Development


By Publications

This report explores Ghana’s fake news ecosystem examining key actors in the online and offline space and the origins of their authority; key online information platforms and the interaction between offline media and non-media structures that shape information flows and gender dynamics. Ten interviews were undertaken to augment secondary data gathered from online and offline news publications, academic research reports, current affairs programs on several media stations, and social media engagements. The key informants were purposively drawn from targeted institutions considering their role in the information ecosystem.

Young people, mostly college and high-school educated, constitute a significant percentage of the 31 million Ghanaians, about half of whom have some level of access to the internet. This figure is growing rapidly. This younger demographic increasingly relies on Facebook, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter to interact with each other and to mobilize around topics of shared interest. It is this same purpose that has attracted political activists, commentators, and high-ranking officials, who increasingly see the online realm as a place where they can seek to shape and control narratives.


By Publications

According to 2021 figures from Statista, 51.4% of Nigerians are internet users; a figure that has increased by 8% between 2017 and 2021. By 2026, the percentage of the Nigerian population that will use the internet at least once a month is expected to reach 60%. WhatsApp and Facebook are the most common platforms Nigerians use to come online, but other platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, and before it was banned by the federal government, Twitter, also have significant and growing user bases. Telegram and Clubhouse have also seen rapid increases in the numbers of users in the last year. Clubhouse aligns well with oral traditions in Nigeria.

In some of the Clubhouse discussions monitored for this study, speakers referenced false dates misrepresented personalities and reinterpreted events in ways that could stoke further division.

But it is important to note that these social media platforms do not operate in silos. Conversations that take place on Clubhouse, may subsequently become a topic for debate on Twitter, with tweets then screenshotted and shared across WhatsApp and Facebook. The interconnected nature of online platforms is also reflected in the increasing overlap between online and offline sources of information. This happens through conventional media who pick up information online and share it with another audience.

The Gambia’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

By ECOWAS Fake News ReportsNo Comments

For the Gambia, we look at the fake news ecosystem through the eyes of Sait Matty Jaw, who doubles as the co-founder and executive director of the Center for Research and Policy Development and political science lecturer at the University of the Gambia.

Sait’s Center for Research and Policy Development is a partner of CDD and one of the earliest organisations to take up fact-checking in the Gambia.

The study highlights how misinformation and disinformation are shaping the post-Jammeh era in Gambia and obfuscating the transition from dictatorship to democracy. It links fake news in the Gambia to politics and shows how political players leverage social media tools to shape public opinion by spreading disinformation.

Interestingly, the report places Gambia’s diaspora among the movers and shakers in the country’s fake news ecosystem. Leaning on propagandist antecedents honed during the activism of the Jammeh days, the diaspora has transitioned to more politically partisan views and are launching information campaigns from both sides of the political divide.

It is symbolic that we are releasing this report just ahead of the Gambia’s general election of December 4 2021. We understand that the timing of this research has increased the readiness of the Center for Research and Policy Development towards the important work of fact-checking election-related disinformation in the coming week.

Download the report here!

This report is part of our ECOWAS Fake News Reports. Missed the other reports in the series? Catch up below:

Liberia’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

Liberia’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview

By PublicationOne Comment

Fake news is spreading fast and wide in Liberia driven by increased access to the internet. This report provides an overview of the fake news ecosystem in Liberia by investigating — through key informant interviews and secondary research — how information is produced, shared and spread in the country.

The report focuses on the key actors and platforms used to circulate fake news in the country. It then examines how fake news impacts and shapes national events, and offers some recommendations on how to contain fake news and mitigate its impacts on society.

Download Liberia’s Fake News Ecosystem: An Overview (PDF)

Labaran Karya da CDD ta Gano Tare da Binciko Sahihancin Su a Mako na uku, Watan Afrilu, 2021

By Fact Check

Aikin mu a Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) shine ganowa tare da binciko gaskiyar labaran karya da aka wallafa a kafafen sada zumunta na zamani dama kafafen yada labarai.

A makon nan, masu bin diddigin labarai dan gano sahihancin su na CDD sun bankado wasu labaran karya da aka wallafa tare da yada su a shafukan sada zumunta na zamani.

A wannan makon da muke bankwana dashi, CDD ta gano wani labari da aka wallafa akan wani matashi mai suna Salim Sani Zakariyya, a labarin da yada shafin Twitter am wallafa hoton Salim inda aka yi rubuta a jikin sa kuma aka bayyana shi a matsayin wani dan Boko Haram da ake nema ruwa a jallo.

Karanta Yadda Labarin ya Kasance:

A ranar Litinin, 12 ga watan Afirilun shekara ta 2021, masu tantance sahihancin labarain na Cibiyar Bunkasa Demokaradiyya da Cigaba (CDD) sun gano wani jawabi da wani mai amfani da shafin Twitter mai lakabin @UchePOkoye ya wallafa. Jawabin na dauke da hoton Salim Sani Zakariyya kuma anga wani rubutu a jikin hoton kamar haka: “Dan Boko Haram Da Ake Nema Ruwa-a-Jallo”.

Binciken da CDD ta gudanar ya gano cewa Salim Sani Zakariyya bashi da alaka da kungiyar Boko Haram. Binciken ya kara gano cewa Salim Sani Zakariyya baya cikin jerin wadan da Rundunar Sojin Najeriya ta wallafa a matsayin yan Boko Haram da take nema, wannan kuma kai tsaye yana karyata ikirarin da Mr. Uche yayi wa Salim din a jawabin day a wallafa a shafin sa na Twitter.

CDD ta tuntube shi, Salim Sani Zakariyya ya ce ya yi mamakin abinda Mr. Okoye ya yi masa dan kawai ya gargade shi kan yada labaran bogi. Domin karanta cikekken labarin, latsa nan

Wasu Rahotannin Bincike da CDD ta Gabatar a Cikin Makon da ya Gabata

Farmer-Herder Conflict in Northern Nigeria: Trends, Dynamics and Gender Perspectives

Deradicalizing Rehabilitating and Reintegrating: Building Peace in Nigeria’s North East

Labarin da aka gabatar akan CDD

Insecurity and Covid-19: Threats to electoral democracy in Africa

Wasu daga ciki labaran karya da CDD ta bankado tare da wallafa su

  1. hukumar hisbah a jahar kano bata ci tarar daliban jamiar bayero n20000 ba
  2. tantancewar da cdd ta aiwatar ba a yiwa dig moses jitoboh ritaya ba
  3. bill gates bai ce maganin cutar korona zai canza kwayoyin halittar danadam ba
  4. joe biden bai umarci hukumar shigi da ficin amurka ta bada izinin aiki da zama ta yanar gizo ga yan najeirya ba
  5. gwamnatin tarayya ba ta saye manhajar whatsapp ba

sheikh sharif ibrahim saleh bai soki dakatar da abduljabbar nasiru kabara daga waazi a kano ba

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa


By Fact Check

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.

Read the full report here


Farmer-Herder Conflict in Northern Nigeria: Trends, Dynamics and Gender Perspectives

Deradicalizing Rehabilitating and Reintegrating: Building Peace in Nigeria’s North East


Insecurity and Covid-19: Threats to electoral democracy in Africa

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity of stories before sharing them.

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

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa


By Fact Check

This week, the world commemorated International Fact-checking Day. The day is promoted by the International Fact-Checking Network in partnership with fact-checking organizations around the world.

The Centre for Democracy and Development is dedicated to helping reduce the increasing spread of misinformation across the sub-region and has continued to track misinformation from when the Ebola crisis hit Africa to the current day. Battling misinformation in times of national crisis has become a pattern that has emerged in have Nigeria and can be correspondingly deadly.

Why Does Fake News Easily Spread in Nigeria?

Our research has shown that that the spread of misinformation in Nigeria can be attributed to weak institutions, a long history of low trust in government, low social capital, elite division, and low government responsiveness. 

These leave the country especially vulnerable to the essential challenge posed by any national crisis. The distrust in government also means that citizens are more likely to seek alternative solutions rather than look to the government to provide them. Misinformation propagates more rapidly in such an environment.

Disinformation and misinformation have continued to spread despite efforts by many organisations to counter its dissemination across social media and at the community level.

While the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic did not make things easy, the advent of vaccines from various companies skyrocketed the proliferation of false claims and narratives on the disease, its spread and the vaccination against COVID-19.

In the past week, there has been an increase in cross border narratives – mostly championed by people of great influence – on the use and administration of the new COVID-19 vaccine. Some of the influential people used to push these narratives and misconceptions about the COVID-19 vaccine included politicians, social media influencers and religious leaders.

In a twist of fate, some of the influential individuals who had peddled false narratives and claims on the COVID-19 vaccine and describing it as the mark of the beast or anti-Christ have joined the first batch of receivers of the vaccine.

However, the concern remains; the possibility of reaching out to all those who have been led astray by the false claims peddled by these influential people.


Health Misinformation: False Stories From Ebola To Coronavirus


Ezekwesili, panellists at ICIR, ICFJ webinar unveil new approach against fake news

Digital Democracy Still A Long Way Off In Africa; It Takes More Than Tech

CDD Newsletter For the Week Ending March 21, 2021

By Fact Check

Disinformation and misinformation are currently being spread in such a manner that they both pose a global threat, causing unease and fear within societies and organisations. With our work at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), we are committed to empowering people across the West African region with adequate knowledge that could help them to identify and verify all forms of false information and claims.

At the Centre, we believe democracy can hardly thrive in an environment filled with falsehood – whether online or offline – and the chaos that results from it.

Over the weekend, news platforms across Nigeria reported that a group Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) had taken responsibility for the attack on Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.

Also speaking on the African Independent Television’s News Hour on Sunday, March 21, the Governor said FUNAM have come out to take responsibility for the attack on him (Governor Ortom) while on his farm, in Benue.

This is not the first time such statements will be credited to the group. In October 2020, a similar viral claim was traced to a post by a blog, Jungle Journalist. The message was posted on Nairaland and shared on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter.

In the message, the Fulani Nationality Movement (FUNAM) claimed to have been responsible for the attack meted out to #EndSARS protesters by some hoodlums in Apo District of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city.

In 2019, CDD conducted a fact-check exposing FUNAM as a faceless group that emerged the previous year, 2018. The group as at the time claimed to have been responsible for the crisis between farmers and herders.

While it has become clear that FUNAM does not exist, the group has been used as a weapon to stoke ethnic tensions as far back as 2018.

For instance, during the #EndSARS protest, a statement credited to FUNAM said the non-existent group claimed responsibility for the burning of vehicles in Apo area of Abuja, Nigeria’s capital city on October 19, 2020.

There is no group known as FUNAM and not responsible for the attacks on #EndSARS protesters in Apo district of Abuja.

This is an attempt at stoking ethnic tensions and should be ignored.

Fact-checks for the Week

On Thursday, March 18, 2020, CDD fact-checker spotted a WhatsApp broadcast claiming that there is an ongoing distribution of Coronavirus (COVID-19) survival fund program for the second wave of the pandemic.

According to the broadcast, the program, an initiative of the Federal Government of Nigeria is expected to make N30,000 available to successful applicants weekly to avoid prevent a negative impact of the pandemic on the people.

The message which read: “Hurry Up And Get ₦30,000 SurvivalFund . It takes fews {sic} seconds to apply. Don’t miss this great opportunity”, also had a link attached to it.

Investigations carried out by the CDD reveal that the claim that FG is currently running a N30,000 COVID-19 fund for citizens to survive the second wave of the pandemic is false.

Checks by the CDD showed that the link provided is a bait used by fraudsters to defraud innocent Nigerians.

Read the full fact-check here

On March 15, 2021, CDD fact-checkers spotted a claim published by multiple online sources including the Punch and ABN claiming that Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, the father of the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, had just died.

The reports indicated that a statement issued by Dr Ngozi on behalf of the family said her father, the immediate past Obi of Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State died on March 15, 2021.

It also added that Professor Okonjo died at the age of 91 in Lagos as soon as he returned from a trip to the United States of America and Ghana.

Checks by the CDD show that the claim that Professor Chukwuka Okonjo recently passed on March 15, 2021, is misleading.

The former Obi of Ogwashi Ukwu in Delta State passed on September 13, 2019, at the age of 91 in Lagos.

An investigation by CDD also reveals that a press statement released by the late Professor’s family through Dr Okonjo-Iweala’s media adviser, Paul C. Nwabiukwu on September 13, 2019, had confirmed that he died two years ago and not 2021.

Read the full fact-check here


Electoral Corruption in Nigeria: A Case Study of the 2019 General Election

CDD Activities

Three Days Monitoring and Evaluation Training For Anti-Corruption Agencies by CDD with Support by MacArthur Foundation

Who Owns £4.2 Million Ibori Loot Refund: Federal Government or Delta State?


CDD: Monitoring and evaluation vital in tracking fight against corruption

We’ve Zero-Tolerance For Corruption In Cross River – Commissioner For Justice

Ekiti bye-Election: INEC asked to ban parties, candidates involved in violence

CDD Condemns Killing of Three Voters at Ekiti State Assembly Bye-Election

GEJ Foundation Calls for Elimination of Barriers to Civic Participation in Nigeria

After $25b on maintenance, FEC approves new $1.5b for PH refinery

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity of stories before sharing them.

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

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Labaran Karya da CDD ta Gano Tare da Binciko Sahihancin Su a Mako na Biyu na Watan Maris, 2021

By Fact Check

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

  1. ba a kori fulani a jahar kano ba
  2. shin masu zanga zanga sun mamaye titin zuwa filin jirgin saman abuja ranar 4 ga maris 2021
  3. hoton da aka ga shanu na cin timatir a gefen hanya ba a najeriya aka dauke shi ba
  4. babu wani tsarin bada tallafi daga gidauniyar dangote
  5. bill gates bai ce zaa sake samun wata annoba bayan cutar korona ba

Why Do You Need to Take the COVID-19 Vaccine?

By Fact Check

On Tuesday, February 2, 2021, Nigeria received the first batch of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines through the  COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) vaccine facility, the global sharing program designed to give countries equal access to vaccines and other tools.

After verification and certification by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration (NAFDAC), President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice Yemi Osinbajo were among the early receivers of the vaccine. The President and his Vice assured Nigerians of the vaccine’s safety and efficacy as photographs of the duo surfaced online.

However, many Nigerians have raised concerns about the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and other vaccines generally. So, here are important facts you should know about.

Who Produced the Vaccine

The brand of vaccine purchased by the Nigerian government was developed by British firm AstraZeneca, working in partnership with Oxford University. It is however manufactured under license by the Serum Institute in India. It is the second to be approved by the Independent Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

How safe is the vaccine?

The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines have been revalidated by the NAFDAC as safe for use in Nigeria.

The agency in a press statement signed by its Director-General, Professor Mojisola Christianah Adeyeye said the active substance in the vaccine is manufactured and controlled by Serum Institute of India Private Limited (SIIPL).

Adeyeye said a GMP certificate and manufacturing license issued by the India National Regulatory Authority (NRA) has been presented and found to be authentic and valid.

“From the Phases 2/3 conducted, COVISHIELD was found safe and well-tolerated in adults above 18 years of age. The incidence of solicited, unsolicited AEs and SAEs was comparable in the study control. groups. No causally related SAE was caused by the study vaccine.” Adeyeye said.

However, an advisory by the UK Medicines & Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Says “As with any vaccine, COVID 19 Vaccine AstraZeneca may not protect everyone who is vaccinated from COVID-19. It is not yet known how long people who receive the vaccine will be protected. No data are currently available in individuals with a weakened immune system or who are taking chronic treatment that suppresses or prevents immune responses.”

So, you are advised to still adhere to the safety precautions until available data shows that is safe not to.

Why Do You Need to Take the Vaccine?

Based on available scientific data and knowledge about vaccines for other diseases and early data from clinical trials, experts believe that getting a COVID-19 vaccine may help keep you safe from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19.

In the past, vaccines have been known to protect humans against infectious diseases like Smallpox, Polio among others.

For instance, Smallpox which claimed approximately 300 million lives in the 20th century alone, has been fully eradicated thanks to the development and implementation of safe and effective vaccines.

It Relieves the Pressure on Healthcare workers

Being vaccinated means you are most unlikely to contract the infectious diseases you are vaccinated against. This lessens the pressure on health workers and in turn the system. In this instance, the health workers have ample time to dedicate their efforts to service while funds and equipment are channeled to helping patients. Taking a COVID-19 vaccine will help in the same way – freeing up resources by lowering case numbers and preventing further backlogs of other treatments.

To Prevent the Spread of Fake News

Research has shown that fake news spreads much faster and farther than facts. Over the last few decades, conspiracy theories and misinformation have eroded public trust in vaccines, leading to the re-emergence of nearly eradicated diseases in many countries. This may become the case with COVID-19 if people don’t follow evidence-based guidance from the scientific and medical community.

When we follow the facts, we are not only protecting ourselves and our loved ones from infectious diseases but also setting an example that helps fight back against the diffusion of misinformation.


On March 2, 2021, a Facebook user Amanda Chisom shared a picture of cattle eating a heap of tomatoes by a roadside.

The post created the impression that it was from Northern Nigeria as a result of the ongoing food blockade from the north to the south in Nigeria.  Several social media users have also shared the image to create the impression that the event happened in Nigeria, an aftermath of the food blockade by the Amalgamated Union of Foodstuff and Cattle Dealers of Nigeria (AUFCDN).

Shared on Twitter by Spartan – El Pluribus Unum! (@Osegun_MG), the image was also posted by Reno Omokri, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, and on Nairaland.

The image showing cattle eating tomatoes heaped by the roadside is not from Nigeria but India. It was first shared online by the fake page Funny India on July 30, 2017.

On January 9, 2021, a Twitter page @Rukhsar428 shared the image alongside another image of a cow in a tweet, stating that his government’s policies have become hostile to the nation’s economy.

In January this year, the image was used by several Twitter users as part of a social media campaign in India calling for the ban on the importation of tomatoes into the country using the hashtag #StopImportTomatoAndOnion.

Read the full fact-check here

On March 5, 2021, multiple online platforms posted a video online with the claim ‘’Nigerian youths block Abuja Airport road, at Dantata bridge, stops international flight passengers and brings the city to stand still.’’

The video was also shared via WhatsApp with the claim “Another episode of Lekki Toll Gate, repeating itself in Abuja. GOD, PLEASE HELP THIS COUNTRY!”

The video which was also posted on popular discussion forum Nairaland was accompanied with the claim “Some youths have taken laws into their own hands at the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on Thursday night grounding all activities along the popular Dantata Bridge in Abuja. The popular Bridge was said to have been blocked by the irate youths who are protesting against bad governance under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.”

Checks by fact-checkers at the CDD show that the video is five months old and was recorded on October 16, 2020, #EndSARS protest against Police brutality in Nigeria.

The protesters had blocked the Abuja Airport Road, which links the city centre to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport. The road is also a major gateway to Abuja from neighbouring states of Kogi, Niger and Kaduna and the city’s outskirts. The protest was reported by Premium TimesIndependent Newspaper and the Tribune

Furthers checks by the CDD showed that there was indeed a protest in Abuja on March 4, 2021, by some individuals calling for the resignation of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Read the full fact-check here


Key findings in a new report by the CDD and Tactical Tech show that personal data is becoming increasingly important in Nigerian political campaigning. The report which examines how personal data has featured in Nigeria’s political campaign history also sheds light on the wider digital and data-driven political influence industry in Nigeria.

It also looks at the digital tools and practices political agents employ during elections and what future trends and developments are likely to emerge.

Read report here

CDD in the media

CDD: Pampering bandits will make things worse

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) has accused governments at various levels of pampering bandits, a measure it said will lead to more “heinous crimes”.

The Centre also said the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has “failed woefully” in efforts to address Nigeria’s security challenges.

Read more

How Buhari can end mass kidnapping of students – CDD

In the wake of the release of the 317 abducted students of Government Girls Secondary School, Jangebe in Zamfara State, the CDD  urged the Nigerian government to implement a holistic security approach to protect the rights of children.

This followed the release of the abducted female students of the Government Girls Secondary School Jengebe in Zamfara state. There has been similar mass kidnap of students in states such as Katsina, Niger, Borno, and Yobe State.

The Centre also called on the country’s government to prevent repeated incidents.

Read more


Newsletter for the Week Ending January 10, 2021

By Fact Check

As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues to hit countries across the world hard, there have been efforts to put the health emergency crisis under control. There is a considerable push by world leaders, scientists to strengthen the production and administration of vaccines across over 40 countries and counting.

While no African country has joined the league of nations with vaccine approval and distribution, the progress made in other parts of the world comes with a growing spread of misinformation around the vaccine on the continent.

One thing very important to note is that the last two weeks have ushered in headlines on two new variants of COVID-19 that are spreading fast.

According to WHO, the VOC-202012/01 variant initially detected in the United Kingdom has been detected in a small number of cases in 40 other countries while the 501Y.V2 variant was initially detected in South African in six other countries.

In this part of the world where people are finding it difficult to believe that the virus truly does exist, you also find a section of Nigerians who have refused to accept the importance of a vaccine against the dreaded virus.

For some, they believe the conspiracy that the vaccine is evil – a theory that has continued to form major aspects of small community talks or teachings by renowned religious leaders.

Also, many Nigerians believe the declarations by their religious leaders that the Coronavirus vaccine is demonic and a mark of the beast that will subsequently be used for financial transactions across countries of the world.

However, for others, the vaccine alters the genetic makeup of those who have received it – a conspiracy widely shared online – and for this reason, they believe the vaccine is unsafe for them and their loved ones. These set of people will go to any length to convince anyone who cares to listen on the “dangers of the vaccine.”

Ideologies like the ones mentioned above, CDD’s analysis shows have further increased the spread of disinformation of the new COVID-19 virus vaccine, thereby raising citizens’ fear and doubt about the efficacy of the virus.

Also, CDD has received a lot of claims that fall within the category of online scams making rounds online for verification. Below is one a fact check to counter the claim of the distribution of N30,000 N-Power grant to Nigerians.

The broadcast with an accompanying link claimed beneficiaries of the will be determined from those selected.

The link provided by the suspected scammers would also require that applicants provide details such as account number among others.

The applicants are also expected to share the link to 12 other people on WhatsApp – a pattern which CDD has noticed is used by internet fraudsters to lure mostly unemployed Nigerians to their “scheme”.

Investigations carried out by CDD fact-checkers showed the claim to be false and purely another method used by online scammers to defraud unsuspecting Nigerians.

Checks carried out by CDD revealed the link provided looks are fake and not from the Federal Government’s approved N-Power Programme.

Read the full report here

Another claim countered by the CDD is the report that Bayero University Kano (BUK) has cancelled its 2019/2020 academic session. The report also claimed that the university has announced a resumption for other academic activities within the institution for January 18, 2021.

The report also said that the decision to cancel the academic session was taken by the University’s Senate on Monday, January 4, 2021.

Contrary to details of the report, investigations by the CDD revealed that the 2019/2020 academic session of Bayero University has not been cancelled by the institution.

The Centre gathered that the university had announced the completion of the session which was disrupted by COVID19 pandemic.

The Director of Public Affairs for Bayero University Kano, Malam Ahmad Shehu, told our fact-checker that no session has been cancelled by the institution as widely claimed online.

Shehu said the Senate of the university, at a special meeting held on Monday, January 4, 2021, approved the completion of the 2019/2020 academic session prolonged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full report here

Other fact-checks produced by the CDD are:

Trending Image of Ministry of Long Life and Prosperity Bus in Imo is Fake

FACT-CHECK: Kano Hospital Not Shut Down Over COVID-19 Case

WhatsApp, Facebook Not Banned by Katsina State Government

FACT-CHECK: Is Buhari’s Claim on #EndSARS Protest Coverage by CNN, BBC True?

Did FG Direct Reopening of COVID-19 Isolation Centres?


By Fact Check

CDD Disinformation Weekly takes a closer look at the spread of fake news. The Centre continued to sort fiction from facts. As the world faces information disorder, staying connected with CDD fact checks  brings you informed opinion on important issues, from government to politics, to healthcare and development.

This week,  the Centre spotted the spread of disinformation on WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, in addition to transfer of videos offline with the aid of Bluetooth and Xender.

Effort by Twitter  to mark some content on its platforms as possible disinformation received our commendable attention. OF particular mention was the United States of America’s presidential election 2020. Unverified contents were marked with a warning signal.

Worthy of note this week, is how disinformation spread at the community level – local markets, churches, mosques and social gathering by word of mouth. The damage done by the spread of disinformation cannot be overemphasized because sometimes these false narratives degenerate to hate speeches. In other cases, it could turn an already volatile situation to a violent case and can cause harm or death to the people.

Fact Checks for the Week

Has Rahma Sadau Been Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy?

On Tuesday, November 10, 2020 fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development spotted a claim reported by several online platforms that northern actress, Rahma Sadau has been sentenced death for blasphemy.

The news reports claimed that the alleged sentencing followed Rahma’s photoshoot outfit which drew controversy in the north and among Muslims in the region.

Read more Has Rahma Sadau Been Sentenced to Death for Blasphemy?

Former Bauchi Governor Not Appointed Acting INEC National Chairman

On Friday November 13, 2020 fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a story shared WhatsApp groups with the claim that a former Governor of Bauchi State, Ahmed Mu’azu has been appointed the new national chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The story published by CityNews had the picture of Mu’azu with the caption: BREAKING: Ahmed Mu’azu now acting INEC chairman.

Read more Former Bauchi Governor Not Appointed Acting INEC National Chairman

News on Disinformation from Centre for Democracy and Development

CDD Trains 24 Members of Africa Young Female Advisers Initiative on Social Media for Good Governance Read more

False news from around the web

Below are some suspicious information on the internet which fact-check reports were not written for:


Check if Your number has been chosen by MTN to receive ₦15000

As Party of customer REWARD Program For

Who have been using MTN for more than three months


Deadline: 2020-12-9


The Government has not approved a new salary for the Nigeria Police.

There are no evidence to prove that the Nigerian Government has approved a new salary scale for the Nigerian Police Force.

First, the alleged increment was not captured in the budget for the year. The Police has also come out to day the news is false.


Yes, there is a vaccine on the way

In the last week we have read positive news about the efficacy of the Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 and today about Moderna’s.

Unlike conventional vaccines, which are produced using weakened forms of the virus, both are mRNA vaccines, which trick the body into producing some of the viral proteins itself.

COVID 19 Does Not Go Away?

There is increasing evidence that a significant number of people who become infected with COVID-19 continue to have debilitating symptoms for months. The condition, known as “long COVID”, can affect many parts of the body, and can include symptoms ranging from fatigue, a cough, shortness of breath, inflammation and injury to major organs, and neurological and psychological effects. And it can impact anyone, including young healthy people.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke to three survivors and called for governments to take action to support those suffering from long COVID. Share Verified

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity of stories before sharing them.

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

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT-CHECK: Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala Not Yet Appointed First Female WTO DG

By Fact Check


CLAIM: On Thursday, October 8, 2020, various social media platforms were engulfed with the claim that Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala has been appointed the first female Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Multiple sources, especially on Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp made the claim that former Nigeria’s minister appointed WTO DG on Thursday, October 8, 2020.


Investigations by fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development shows that Okonjo-Iweala has only advanced to the final stage of the WTO selection process alongside another female candidate, Yoo Myoung Hee from South Korea.

The claim that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed first female Director-General of the WTO on Thursday, October 8, 2020, is false as the organization is yet to round up its selection process for a director-general.

In a press release announcing the progress of the two female candidates to the final stage, the Chair of the General Council of the trade organisation, Ambassador David Walker, said the third phase of consultations will commence on October 19 and run until October 27, 2020.

Walker said allotted time will allow members of the organisation sufficient time to prepare their positions.

The statement reads: “During this period, WTO members will be asked in confidential consultations to express to the facilitators a single preference and based on these preferences, the troika will deliver their assessment on which of the two candidates is most likely to command a consensus of the membership and become the seventh Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Ambassador Walker would then call a formal general council and present the troika’s recommendation to the membership for a formal decision.’’

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is Nigeria’s candidate for the top trade organisation’s job. She served twice as Nigeria’s finance minister and one term as foreign affairs minister.

She has worked at international governance bodies as a former managing director of the World Bank and as a chairman at the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization.


As of Thursday, October 8, 2020, Okonjo-Iweala has not been appointed WTO’s Director-General as widely circulated.

WTO is yet to finish the process of selecting a director-general for the organisation, confirming the claim the Okonjo-Iweala has been appointed is false.

CDD is urging Nigerians to always verify the authenticity stories before sharing them. You can also forward suspicious messages for verification via WhatsApp to +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

Information Influence: Disinformation During Edo's 2020 Gubernatorial Election

By Publications

Located at the centre of southern Nigeria, in the south-south geopolitical zone, Edo state was created in 1991 but it was not until 1999 that its first democratically elected leader – Chief Lucky Igbinedion of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – was elected to power.

PDP ruled the state for nine years before a court order invalided Professor Osunbor’s election in 2007 and Adams Oshiomole won the 2008 re-run on the Action Congress (AC) ticket which merged into the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2013.

Oshiomole was the Governor until 2016 and remains involved and influential in Edo politics to this day. But twelve years on from losing power in the state, the PDP has been emboldened by the recent defection of Governor Godwin Obaseki from the APC following a well-publicised
falling-out with Oshiomole in 2019.

This marriage of convenience between Obaseki and the PDP, who would relish the chance to come back to power and regain parity with the rest of the south-south states, presents a very interesting dynamic for Septembers gubernatorial election which pits the current governor against Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyeamu of the APC.


Dissecting Disinformation in Nigeria: An Overview of CDD's Work So Far

By Publications

With many of the world’s populations in lockdown, or living with restricted
freedom of movement, it is a good time to reflect on the present, evaluate the past, and look towards the future.

The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) is taking time to reflect on its journey in fighting disinformation by looking at some of our key work in this area, and meditating on both the current state of affairs, and where to go next.

Disinformation is a relatively new term, but it refers to a practice as old as time. The dissemination of false information through modern channels using the internet is what marks out the disinformation of today. CDD began working on countering disinformation five years ago.

Our first foray was through the Buharimeter, a platform that was designed to measure accountability by tracking the (in)congruence between Nigerian President Buhari’s campaign promises and actions in office.


FACT-CHECK: Is CBN Sending N85,000 COVID-19 Relief To Nigerians?

By Fact Check, UncategorizedNo Comments



On Sunday, August 9, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted text messages urging Nigerians to contact a mobile number to claim their COVID-19 relief fund.

The messages claimed that the fund approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be sent to different categories of Nigerians (not clarified) at either N45,000 or N85,000 each.

According to the second message, the N45,000 relief fund will be sent through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The message read in part: “Congratulations Youth empowerment, due to covid_19 you’ve been approved to receive N85,000 from the CBN contact to claim your prize +23408038673870”.


Investigations by CDD fact-checkers show that the purported message did not emanate from the Federal Government or the CBN as claimed.

The message, clearly handiwork of fraudsters is a means used to lure people into given providing access to their bank details and other personal information.

Calls put through the mobile phone number showed that it was registered on truecaller as Felsu Azezat. Several calls  made to the line was not answered or returned as at the time of publishing this fact-check.

Also, checks by the Centre show the fraudsters used different numbers to contact people with the same message and different contact numbers to reach out to for prizes listed for claims.

Further checks by the centre show that CBN has already given out loans through the right channels. The beneficiaries of these loans are agricultural loans, Micro, Small and Enterprises Development Fund (CBN MSMEDF Loan).


The claim on the allocation of a prize worth N85,000 and N45,000 by CBN is false. It is the handiwork of fraudsters.

CDD urges members of the public to remain vigilant and always verify all information before disseminating them.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at

+2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation

Center for Democracy and Development West Africa| CDD West Africa

FACT CHECK: Is Buhari the Most Followed African Leader on Twitter?

By Fact CheckNo Comments



On Wednesday, July 22, 2020, the News agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that President Muhammadu Buhari is the most followed African leader on twitter.

NAN, in its report, quoted a report, Twiplomacy Study 2020, which was also used by several online media platforms including Vanguard News, PMNews online, Newswireng, Pulse NigeriaAll Africa.


An investigation by fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) shows that President Buhari is not Africa’s most-followed leader on Twitter. 

A check on the microblogging site, Twitter which Twiplomacy used in its ratings show that the President of Egypt, Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsisiOfficial) is the most followed African leader on the social media platform with 4,133,263 followers compared to @MBuhari who has 3,121,169 followers.

Also, in its report, Twiplomacy indicated that President Buhari is the most followed sub-Saharan African leader and not Africa’s most-followed president on Twitter. The Twiplomcy report quoted by NAN was specific about the details.

Part of the Twiplomacy report reads ‘’Muhammadu Buhari, the president of Nigeria, is by far the most followed Sub-Saharan African leader with 3,121,169 followers ahead of Paul Kagame the president of Rwanda with 1,910,159 followers.’’

There are 46 of Africa’s 54 countries in “sub-Saharan”, which excludes Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, Sudan, Algeria, Djibouti and Tunisia.

Sub-Saharan Africa is geographically the area of the continent of Africa that lies south of the Sahara. 


The claim that President Buhari is the most followed leader in Africa on twitter is false. 

Egypt’s President @AlsisiOfficial is the most followed African leader on Twitter with 4,133,263 as at 10 AM July 23, 2020.

CDD, therefore, urges members of the public to always verify all information before disseminating them.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation 

FACT CHECK: No Money Belonging to Magu Was Found in Ikoyi Cemetery

By Fact Check, UncategorizedNo Comments



Since Monday, July 13 2020, several online blogs in Nigeria have consistently published an image claiming it is Ikoyi Cemetery where monies belonging to suspended Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, was discovered.  

Some of the reports claimed the amount found was $150 million.

Altered image


The images used were altered to include operatives of the anti-corruption agency. The same image was used in April 2017 to make a similar claim by several online blogs.

Also, an investigation by the Centre for Democracy for Development (CDD) fact-checkers show that while the original images were not shot in Nigeria.

For instance, one of the original images showing people at the Batu Arang cemetery was shot in Malaysia while a photograph of someone standing on bundles of money is from a grave in Ecuador.

A report by Eluniverso said the Ecuadorian National Police officials excavated bundles of millions of dollars hidden by some drug barons in a cemetery.

According to the report and a video on YouTube, the money recovered by the Ecuadorian Police officers from the cemetery is $12,000,000.

The image was altered to substantiate the false story.

Checks by CDD fact-checkers show that the pictures of the EFCC operatives were merged with that of Ecuadorian National Police officials in a cemetery excavating bundles of millions of dollars hidden by some drug barons.

Also, a search on Google shows that, in April 2017 when the images first went viral, the EFCC through it verified official page @officialEFCC, tweeted that the photo was a “digital manipulation” and the image is not from the commission.

‘’That was digital manipulation. It’s not from us. Please ignore it.’’ The EFCC tweeted.

Further checks by CDD fact-checkers show that no credible source reported the claim. Most of the sources are sources well known to CDD for spreading disinformation and misinformation.


No money belonging to Ibrahim Magu was found in Ikoyi cemetery. The used by online blogs were manipulated for disinformation.

CDD, therefore, urges members of the public to always verify all information before disseminating them.

You can also forward suspicious messages for verification at +2349062910568 or contact us on twitter @CDDWestAfrica.

#StopFakeNews #StopDisinformation 

Nigeria’s First Female Engineer Never said FG is Hiding Facts About COVID-19 from Citizens

By Fact CheckNo Comments


CLAIM: A widely circulated WhatsApp broadcast has accused the Nigerian government of, amongst others, hiding vital facts about the Coronavirus outbreak in the country.

 The broadcast is credited to Nigeria’s first female chartered engineer, Mrs. Olu Maduka.

Among many claims credited to Mrs Maduka is that several COVID-19 patients are on life support, including a one-month-old baby that is struggling to breathe.

In the message, Mrs Maduka is alleged to have noted that the case of the one-month-old baby made her cry.

The viral message also alleged that the figures announced by the Nigerian government are about 10% of the actual number of confirmed COVID-19 cases announced to the public.

It also claimed that the Nigerian Engineer saw eight corpses within one-hour of her visit to the Mainland Hospital in Lagos.


In the one-minute and thirty seconds video sent in and reviewed by fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development, the engineer debunked the WhatsApp broadcast.

According to her, she was indoors even before the lockdown was announced and has not gone out in about four weeks, let alone visit the Mainland Hospital in Lagos.

She said in the video: “I wish to state emphatically that I did not write the article being circulated widely under my name as I have not visited any isolation centre either on the mainland or anywhere else. I have been home for about four weeks.”

“Even before the state official lockdown because at my age I belong to the high-risk group. So, there is no way I would have visited an Isolation Centre either on the mainland anywhere else,” the Engineer added.

She also urged members of the public to use social media responsibly and desist from abusing the platforms which can also serve educational purposes.

Lagos state has recorded 931 COVID-19 positive cases – the highest of all states across the country – since the confirmation of Nigeria’s index case in February.

The governor of the state , Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has held regular updates to intimate members of the public on the progress made so far by his administration to curb the spread of the virus in the state.


Mrs Maduka, who was conferred with the National Honour of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) in 2008, did not send the WhatsApp broadcast. She was also never at the Mainland Hospital in Lagos as claimed in the message.

She did not write an article accusing the Nigerian government of concealing the true state of the fight against Coronavirus as being widely circulated in the WhatsApp broadcast.

The CDD urges members of the public to disregard such information and refrain from spreading any form of disinformation across the social media platform.

COVID-19: Ministry of Education Never Said Schools Will Reopen in November 2020

By Fact CheckNo Comments

CLAIM: On April 22, 2020, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a press release stating that the Ministry of Education has ordered the closure of schools nationwide until November 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The viral press statement dated April 21, 2020, was credited to the Ministry and had what appeared to be the signature of the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu.



On March 19, 2020, the Federal Ministry of Education ordered the closure of schools across Nigeria following the confirmation of COVID-19 cases in the country.

A review of the Ministry’s website by CDD fact-checkers shows that the Ministry published no press release confirming the said directive.

The press release stated that Mr Sunny Echono, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, confirmed the November reopening to Premium Times, an online Nigerian newspaper. The newspaper’s Managing Editor, Idris Akinbajo, told CDD fact-checkers that the statement is the handiwork of some mischief-makers.

Mr Akinbajo said: “Obviously, what they did is that they took a story which we published late last year, [and] manipulated it to drive their mischief.”

Further proof that this is a doctored statement lies in the fact that a government ministry has never quoted a newspaper in such manner in its press release.

Also, the statement is alleged to have been signed by Adamu Mallam. The Minister’s real name is Adamu Adamu.

During a press conference on the April 21, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said the Ministry is yet to arrive at a definite date for schools to reopen.

“As soon as we arrive at a definite time, we will communicate that. We will also be looking at what we will do for schools to reopen. As you will recall, we asked that schools vacate in the late part of March as soon as this broke,” Nwajuba said.

He added that the reopening of schools across the nation would be a coordinated effort among all the states as the lockdown will affect how students are expected to attend classes and how the teachers will resume work.

“So, it goes with that saying that nobody can reopen schools now except we coordinate all of that effort,” he said.

Finally, in a statement refuting the claim, Ben Gong, the director of media in the Ministry, said the purported press release is a clear case of forgery.


The claim that the Federal Ministry of Education sent out a press statement stating that schools in Nigeria will reopen in November 2020 is false.

CDD urges parents, students, and the general public to disregard the fake release.