Fact CheckHomepagePolitics

Contrary to X user’s claim, dredging of proposed Abia seaport yet to commence

Claim: Governor Alex Otti begins the dredging of Igbo Seaport in Aba, Abia state

Verdict: FALSE

Full Text

An X user Somto Okonkwo (@GeneralSomto), on March 6, 2024, made a post suggesting that the Governor of Abia State, Alex Otti, has commenced dredging the Igbo Seaport in Aba. It further inferred that the governor announced this at an ongoing South-East Security Summit in Owerri, Imo state.

Part of the post reads, South East Begins The Dredging Of Igbo Seaport In ABA, Abia State By  Alex Otti. Abia To Get Seaport As Otti Performs Groundbreaking Ceremony. Abia Governor, Dr Alex Otti, has announced plans to establish a seaport in the state. The project will be located in Owazza, Ụkwa East LGA Abia state. The Obidient governor made this announcement at the ongoing South-East Security Summit in Owerri, Imo state.”

Attached to this post is an eight-minute 18-second video featuring an AI-generated narrator. The post has garnered substantial attention, with over 400,000 views, 2000 retweets, and 400 comments.

Another X user, Omega X D (@OmegaXDream), shared the same video on March 6, 2024, with over 36,000 views.

We decided to verify this claim because of its virality and also to set the records straight as regards the proposed Abia seaport.

Verification

DUBAWA searched Governor Otti’s X handle for the said event (the South-East Security Summit in Owerri, Imo state) but there was no record of such an event in recent times as the post led readers to believe.

Also, upon closer inspection, DUBAWA noticed a name, “InterVlog“, watermarked on the attached video so we looked it up. A search for the Vlog led to a YouTube page harbouring several AI-generated videos similar to the one in question. 

Further search revealed a link between the narration in the video and an article published by The Whistler in September 2023. This article showed that Governor Otti announced his plan to establish a seaport in Abia during a South-East Security  Summit in Owerri, Imo state. 

There was no mention of the commencement of dredging in this report, and the announcement is not a recent development as portrayed in the posts.

“Abia Governor, Dr Alex Otti, has announced plans to establish a seaport in the state. The project which will be located in Owazza, Ụkwa East LGA Abia state will be flagged-off on Sept. 30 2023. The governor made this announcement at the ongoing South-East Security Summit in Owerri, Imo state” part of the article read. 

While the article hinted that there would be a flag off of the said seaport on Sept. 30, 2023, and it would be done together with the Abia Industrial and Innovation Park, a news report by the Vanguard on the said date announced a ground-breaking ceremony of Abia Industrial Innovation Park, not of the seaport.

We found the reaction of the Abia State Governor’s Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Kazie Uko, to news that the state governor dragged President Tinubu to the International Criminal Court over his refusal to open a seaport in Abia. 

The CPS revealed that the seaport is still on the drawing board as of March 2024, which counters the Twitter users’ claim that the state has commenced dredging of a seaport.

The CPS was quoted as saying, “There is absolutely no truth in this wickedly contrived fable. We are still on the drawing board on the proposed seaport while the Federal Government provided for an airstrip in Abia in the current budget, for which we are grateful” and advised the public “to ignore the fake report, treat it for what it is, a trash, and consign it to the waste bin, as it is the handiwork of idle rabble-rousers.”

This supports our finding that no dredging was done for a seaport in Aba. The CPS also added that the proposed seaport is still on the “drawing board”. This reaction was also reported by The Punch newspaper, Vanguard and ABN Tv on March 1, 2024.

DUBAWA spoke to some journalists in the state. They confirmed that the government has not commenced work on the site, affirming that there is currently no seaport in Abia State. However, attempts to obtain photographs of the current state of the site in Abia State were unsuccessful.

Conclusion

The claim that the Abia state government has commenced dredging of a seaport in the state is false. DUBAWA’s findings show that the claimants manipulated and reshared old news reports as new.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the DUBAWA 2024 Kwame KariKari Fellowship, in partnership with Crest 91.1FM, Ibadan and News Verifier Africa, to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button