Nigeria parliament fooled by satire website’s frivolous claim on penis export to China

A  claim that recently went viral, suggesting that over 7,200 human penises were seized from a Nigerian cargo ship by Chinese authorities has caught the attention of the Nigerian House of Representatives. 

The House has now resolved to investigate the claim about illicit trade on human organs between Nigeria and China. 

The call was as a result of a unanimous adoption of a motion by Rimamnde Kwewum (PDP-Taraba) and co-sponsored by Olajide Olatubosun (APC-Oyo), at a plenary on Thursday.

Mr Kwewum, who moved the motion, said that about two weeks ago, Chinese authorities seized a cargo ship that sailed from Nigeria with 7,200 refrigerated human penises.

The  Committees on Human Rights and National security and Intelligence have already been mandated by the House to investigate the issue. 

Prior to the House of Representatives’ call for action on the matter, the viral claim was widely circulated on social media arousing massive traction and reactions which might have, perhaps, caused the lawmakers into calling for action. 

It featured on Twitter , Instagram and WhatsApp and even a prominent Nigerian politician also shared it. 

Femi Fani-kayode’s tweet on the same claim

However, DUBAWA’s findings regarding the claim showed that the story was a hoax as it was originally first shared on a satire website.  

The website, World News Daily, posted a related story of the recovery of 7,221 human penises from a cargo ship.  Even more, the site bore  the motto “Where facts don’t matter,” and headlined the article as “Chinese Authorities Seize Over 7,200 Human Penises On a Cargo Ship From Nigeria.” 

The claim also carried a picture that was alleged to be of Chinese authorities scanning the cargo of the confiscated human penises.

Chinese customs officers have made the world’s biggest seizure of human organs in history this morning, a total of 7221 penises of African origin hidden in a refrigerated freight container,” 

To make its claim appear genuine, the outlet quoted Chinese General Administration of Customs spokesman, Li Wu, as saying, “These organs are common commodities now, but they were certainly harvested in unsanitary conditions or contaminated at some point, so we can’t let them out on the Chinese market.”

DUBAWA also uncovered that the picture used in the satire article was originally related to a story that saw Chinese authorities seizing parts of endangered pangolin on March 9, 2020.  Further, Yandex reverse image search traced the image to four other China-based websites which had also reported on the endangered pangolin back in 2020.  Apparently, it turned out that the Nigerian parliament members had merely fallen victim to the satire website’s frivolous claim on the importation of human penises from Nigeria to China. 

Motion not about penis importation – Lawmaker

When reached Friday afternoon, Olajide Olatubosun (APC-Oyo), a co-sponsor of the motion, explained that although the news may be fake, it was not the crux of the motion. 

“The essence of that motion is not to focus on the 7,200 penises,” he said. “It can be a fake news most likely but if you look at that motion, it is an investigation into organ harvesting. It has  been an issue especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and the place of Nigeria.”

As regards the claim in question, he explained that “we are not really focusing whether or not they caught 7,200 penises in China but the major issue is about organ harvesting, can we look at it more critically?” 

“Anything that comes on social media these days the average Nigerian tends to believe it but we are more concerned with other Nigerians that have probably been kidnapped and their organs harvested for ritual purposes_ what are doing as a people to prevent this criminality.” 

Rimamnde Kwewum (PDP-Taraba), the other lawmaker who co-sponsored the motion, promised to get back to Dubawa but has yet to do so as of press time.

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