Fact CheckMainstream

Nigeria Vs Ghana: Offices to close by 1p.m., not 12noon

Claim: A viral WhatsApp message claims the Federal Government had directed all offices to close by 12 noon in solidarity with the Nigerian team.

Although it is true the Federal Government directed offices to close early on Tuesday in solidarity with the Nigerian team, the time of closure is 1p.m. not 12 noon. 

Full Text

The Super Eagles of Nigeria will be playing against the Black Stars of Ghana at the Moshood Abiola National Stadium, Abuja, on Tuesday, March 29, 2022, by 6p.m. This is the Federation of International Football Association (FIFA) World Cup Qatar 2022 playoff final battle between the two countries. 

This is believed to be the most anticipated and potentially explosive encounter in the two countries’ 71-year, 58-match rivalry, after the first leg in Kumasi on Friday ended goalless.

On Monday, March 28, 2022, a message went viral on WhatsApp claiming the Federal government had announced the closure of all offices at 12 noon in Abuja in solidarity with the Nigerian football match.

The message added that the ministry of sports and Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) bought 20,000 tickets for Nigerians.

Screenshot of the viral WhatsApp message. 

Verification

A keyword search led to reports by Premium Times, Channels Television, Pulse Nigeria, etc, which revealed that on Sunday March 27, 2022, the Federal Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and NFF jointly purchased 20, 000 tickets to give out to fans who wish to support the Eagles on Tuesday.

The minister, Sunday Dare, said this is aimed at filling the stadium and getting full home support in Tuesday’s final battle against Ghana. 

“We will buy 20,000 of the tickets and give to fans at designated centres on Monday and Tuesday morning. We want to ensure maximum support for the Super Eagles by filling up the stands” Premium Times quoted the minister.

We also found a circular by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, to all permanent secretaries on Monday, March 28, 2022, directing that all offices be closed by 1pm on Tuesday.

“There is need to mobilise support for the Nigerian team. Consequently, I am directed to inform you that all offices will be closed at 1:00pm on Tuesday 29th March, 2022” part of the circular read. 

The circular titled “FIFA QATAR 2022 WORLD CUP QUALIFIER BETWEEN NIGERIA AND GHANA”, was signed by Ngozi Onwudiwe, the permanent secretary, Service Welfare Office for the head of the Civil Service of the Federation. 

Image of the circular.

Another circular by the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) on Monday directs its offices to close by 12noon an hour earlier. 

This is to enable staff members to proceed to the national stadium to watch the football match. 

The circular was signed by Muhammad Bashir, the director, Human Resource Managment for the permanent secretary of the FCT.

“…all offices across the Secretariats, Departments and Agencies of the FCT Administration are to be closed for work by 12:00noon being Tuesday 29th March, 2022.”

Screenshot of the circular by FCTA.

The ministry took to Twitter to announce that there are different location for free bus to the stadium

Screenshot of the free bus schedule shared on Twitter.

Also the media officer for NFF, Ayo Olu Ibidapo, tweeted that there are designated bus locations for Nigerians to get a ticket and board the bus to the stadium. 

“The Ministry of Sports and NFF jointly buys 20,000 tickets for Nigerians. Locate the designated bus closest to your location and get a ticket while boarding the bus” he tweeted.

Image share in the Tweet. 

Image of the ticket. 

Conclusion 

While it is true the Federal Government directed offices to close early on Tuesday in solidarity with the Nigerian team, the time of closure is 1pm not 12 noon. This makes the claim misleading. 

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