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Can a CBN branch house more capital than the 2020 Budget?

Image Credit: Dekunle's blog 3 mins read

A blog post shared via Facebook put forward a news content in the ‘Gossip’ section of its page that the Finance Minister supposedly confessed to having lost 12.6 trillion Naira over the fire outbreak at the CBN office in Jos.

The Finance Minister never made such a statement, and she has tagged the news as ‘fake’ in a tweet. Besides, all verification points to the claim as false.  Moreover, the amount (12.6 trillion Naira) in question is more significant than the 2020 annual budget (10.59 trillion Naira) and hence cannot be associated with a CBN branch office.   

Full Text

Tragic news has in the past proven to spread even faster than wildfire. Unlike good news, bad news tends to grasp the audience’s notice with so much magnetism that it sinks into their minds more easily than a pebble thrown into a pool of water. The tragic news that befell the country on Tuesday, April 21, was the fire outbreak at the CBN office in Jos. 

The controversial piece, Saharagist published claims that Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Ms Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, made a statement about the Fire outbreak at the CBN office in Jos. According to the report, the Minister confessed to having lost 12.6 trillion Naira as a result of the fire.

The reports further stated that the Minister confessed on Tuesday, April 21, in Abuja. As quoted by the page, the Minister said: “the country is on a big mess right now, we lost 12.6 trillion Naira over fire outbreak in CBN office in Jos”. 

This is not the first time we are fact-checking the veracity of similar issues concerning the Finance Minister and public funds. However, our previous findings showed such allegations to be false.

Verification

Although a fire actually broke out at the CBN office in Jos, as published by the blog site in question, the Minister of Finance, however, did not confess or make any statement about the loss of 12.6 trillion Naira to the fire. Since the fire, there’s been no report in the mainstream media of the minister’s mention of the loss of public funds to the inferno.

Furthermore, the Minister herself debunked the news as ‘fake’ on her official verified Twitter handle, a day after it was published (23rd April 2020). She further warned the general public to be aware of fake news.

Even more red flags!

This point should have brought our check on the incredibility of the post to an end, but we found another point. Zainab had held a virtual meeting on the same day (April 21) the post claimed she made the statement. However, the topic of the meeting between the minister and the president of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Bandar Hajjar, neither related to the fire outbreak nor had any connection with any statement by the minister.

Furthermore, the blunders in the text of the post raise eyebrows. The piece displayed ignorance of basic journalistic writing style.

”The Nigerian finance minister Mrs Zainab Ahmed has announced the loss of the national fund that was losses due to the Fire outbreak in Jos.”

The statement above is quoted from the post in question, and the manner it is written evidently shows the fabricated nature of the report. 

For example, the post mentioned an amount of money that is larger than the country’s 2020 budget of 10.59 trillion Naira, giving the impression that such a huge amount of money could have been kept in cash in one building in any country, let alone in a branch of Nigeria’s central bank.  Also, the blog post exaggerated the fire incident. A factual report by Punch states that the fire affected only one room and that no record was destroyed during the incident. Hence, the assertion that 12.6 trillion Naira was lost via the fire incident is false.

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