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Nasarawa government used picture from Brazil to depict status of road in state

Claim: On its official Facebook page, the Nasarawa State Government, posted a picture of a ‘before and after’ construction of a road it claims to be in Sisinbaki-Kwarra, Wamba Local Government Council, Nasarawa State, Nigeria. 

Analysis shows that the ‘after’ image was truly that of Sisinbaki-Kwarra road in Wamba Local Government Council. The  ‘before’ was, however,  an image of a road under construction in Camaçari Metropolitan Road in Lauro de Freitas, Brazil back in 2015. As such, this claim is misleading.  

Full Text

Social media has become an acceptable part of our daily lives. While there are ongoing debates about the efficacy of information that floods the platform, organisations and sectors continually use the social media space to promote their agenda and activities. 

It is in light of this reality that the official Facebook page of Nasarawa State Government, shared a ‘before and after’ picture of a road it claims to be in Sisinbaki-Kwarra, Wamba Local Government Council, Nasarawa State Nigeria. 

The Facebook page has over 13 000 followers and contains thousands of other pictures that convey the achievements of the state governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule.

The governor, who is an entrepreneur and businessman,  was elected in 2019 Governorship elections under the platform of the All Progressive Congress (APC).  The Facebook page captures his achievements since assuming office. 

Comments on the page show that many depend on the page for authentic news about the state and take it as a reliable source. For instance, a user wrote this in praise of the page: “It brings to the people what the government is doing with(out) any distortion but as it is.”

How true is this particular information from the page?

Controversy

The post, which presents the picture of the ‘before and after’ road construction, attracted over 200 reactions and over 70 re-shares. Even more, the same picture with apparently the same narrative featured on other Facebook users’ pages and also on Twitter. 

For example, a user, Akashe Abdullahi Ari (@AkasheAri) on Twitter tweeted a picture of the road with the caption: “Before and after construction of 15.5km Sissinbaki-Kwarra Road in Wamba. Thank you, Governor Engr. Abdullahi A. Sule.” 

A tweet by a user sharing the same claim on Twitter

However, not convincing enough for some users, they challenged the authenticity of the picture. “In Wamba Nah halfway to” Ibrahim commented. Also, another user, Joan, who doubted the picture challenged that “the picture of the road above is not in Nasarawa State. This is not true.” 

Nasarawa State is a state in the North Central region of Nigeria, bordered to the east by the states of Taraba and Plateau, to the north by Kaduna State, to the south by the states of Kogi and Benue, and to the west by the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.

Verifying the ‘before’ picture of the road

To verify the ‘before’ picture in the acclaimed narrative, a Yandex reverse image was conducted to trace the actual source of the acclaimed ‘before’ picture of the road. 

The Yandex results show the picture was first used in 2015 in a report that details the construction of the Camaçari Metropolitan Road in Lauro de Freitas, Brazil.

A screenshot of the actual source of the acclaimed ‘Before’ image of the road on Jornal Grande Bahia 

In fact, the Newspaper Grand Bahia, a leading publication in Brazil, reported on several levels of the road’s construction. Even more, the article credited the picture to Mateus Pereira of the Jornal Grande Bahia.

Multiple reports on the Jornal Grande Bahia detailing the process of the road construction of the Camaçari Metropolitan Road in Lauro de Freitas, Brazil
Screenshots of the News reports on the completed road project in Brazil, not in Nasarawa state, Nigeria

The current Governor of Nasarawa State,   Engineer Abdullahi Sule, to whom the alleged road was referenced, came into office in 2019, while the ‘before’ image of the road has been in existence since 2015 as uncovered in the Jornal Grande Bahia. 

Thus, the alleged image used to depict the ‘before’ conditions of the road in Sisinbaki-Kwarra, Wamba local government council, Nasarawa state Nigeria, is false. 

Verifying the ‘after’ picture of the road

When a google reverse image search of the alleged ‘after’ conditions of the road was conducted, results from multiple credible news sources show the image was truly that of the Sisinbaki-Kwarra, Wamba local government council, Nasarawa state Nigeria. 

In a news story by Eggonnews, the governor was reported to commission the Sisinbaki-Kwarra road in Wamba local government council, Nasarawa State Nigeria, on May 22, 2021.

A screenshot of the ‘after’ road construction as presented in Eggonnews report
Screenshot from the Eggonnews report depicting the governor about to commission the Sisinka/Kwarra road

In another report by Afridailynews, the governor was also reported to commission the same Sisinka-Kwarra road on the same day as that of the initial report, May 22, 2021. 

The picture of the “after” road as reported in the Afridailynewsreport

Both reports featured the image of the road ‘after’ completion. Even more, one image shared on Afridailynews showed the governor beside a signpost with the details of the Sisinbaki/Kwarra road project. 

A screenshot of the image on Afridailynews report showing the speaking at the commissioning ceremony of the road beside a signpost that presented details of the road Sisinbaki/Kwarra road project

Not entirely convinced, DUBAWA visited the location to further verify the claim. Findings at the location revealed that the purported ‘after’ picture of the road is actually true of the road project. 

DUBAWA’S reporter, standing in front of the signage for the Sissinbaki/Kwarra road project

Community members who confirmed the claim admitted that the ‘before’ picture of the road is nowhere near their environment; however, they ascertained that the ‘after’ picture was genuine and even took DUBAWA to the actual location. 

John Joel, a member of the Sisinbaki community who took DUBAWA around, said that the claim by the state government is indeed misleading. 

DUBAWA’s reporter taking a tour of the acclaimed road project (Sisinbaki/Kwarra road)

“The ‘before’ picture is not from this part, this is not anywhere in Sisinbaki/Kwarra axis. I was here before and after and I can’t recall this location. But the ‘after’ is true, I even know the  location, and I can take you to the exact place.” 

Similarly, Abdullahi Muhammad, a bike rider who acknowledged the same narrative offered to take this reporter to the location.

The location of the “after” picture of the road as indicated by the community members 

DUBAWA’s findings uncovered that the Sisinbaki/Kwarra road project was actually constructed and even commissioned in 2021 by  Mr Sule. However, the picture shared to depict the ‘after and before’ condition of the road is misleading. 

Further attempts made to contact the Facebook page for Nasarawa State government for comments proved unfruitful. Neither the messages sent on Facebook, nor the ones sent via email address provided on the page were replied to.  

Likewise, calls and messages placed to two of the governor’s media aides were also not responded to as of the time this report was filed. 

Conclusion

While DUBAWA has uncovered that the ‘before’ picture of the acclaimed completed Sisinka/Kwarra road in Wamba LGC, Nasarawa State is false and extracted from another location, the ‘after’ picture is truly that of the completed road project. The claim by the state government is misleading.

This fact-check was produced by DUBAWA in partnership with Code for Africa’s PesaCheck, with support from ICFJ.

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