A fast-trending rebuttal and accompanying image of the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, dressed as a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member is fake news, we have reliably gathered.
The report published today on a website with the domain name hinnews.com quotes Ms Adeosun thus: “@Wailers! Will you keep quiet! I did my NYSC.”
Premium Times has however debunked the viral post. It says that neither Ms Adeosun nor her aides have reacted to its initial news story despite several attempts to reach them.
Mr Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, the Premium Times reporter who broke the news, asserts in his report that: “One of our reporters also requested a reaction from Oluyinka Akintunde, the spokesperson to Mrs Adeosun, who was briefed on the outcome of our investigations. He is yet to send a response to our inquiry.”
The Premium Times report has not been updated to reflect any purported rebuttal by Ms Adeosun, neither has she posted same on her Twitter handle.
Our findings also reveal that the blurry image of the Finance Minister is photo-shopped. The play of shadows, skin tone and background against which the image is set clearly appear edited.
We also conducted a reverse image search on Google which traces the earliest time the image surfaced online to a Twitter user @iSlimfit, who posted it about 16 hours ago. An unverified news site with no contact address, hinnews.com, also reported the photo about the same time. It’s reporter Matthew Uzokwe has no biography or digital footprint that speak to his veracity as an authoritative source to break such news. He provides no context for the alleged ministerial rebuttal, nor quotes any influential source to buttress his claims. We tried reaching out to him by phone, but he did not pick our calls.
Former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode said on his Twitter handle that “whoever was stupid enough to conjure up this terrible photo-shopped picture in an attempt to cover up Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun’s shameless malfeasance has just compounded her problems.”
Over the weekend, Premium Times broke a news story alleging that Ms Adeosun did not participate in the one-year NYSC scheme, but forged her discharge certificate to avoid the mandatory national service. At the time this report was filed, it still awaits a reaction from the Ministry of Finance and NYSC authorities. The photo is, therefore, FALSE!
Francis Jakpor is the Programme Manager (Election Fact-Checking Project), Paradigm Initiative.