CLAIM: A News platform,
EVIDENCE: Not only is “Scannews” website replete with stories that have turned out to be false, the US Embassy says it is FALSE. More over, no other news platform reported this
A News platform, Scannews Nigeria, posted on its Facebook page on January 28, 2018, that President Donald Trump released a statement where he asked African leaders if they were human for presiding over the continent’s enormous resources while the continent remains poor.
He was alleged to have made comments like: “If after 50 years of Independence you have not built the necessary infrastructure for your people, are you human? If you sit on gold, diamond, oil, manganese, uranium and your people don’t have food, are you humans?“.
The story was liked 46,000 times, had 52,475 shares with over 100 comments.
Since assuming the Presidency of the United States of America, Donald Trump has made a few negative remarks about people of African origin and Africans in general. He was once caught on record comparing African nations to a filthy toilet.
Even before he was elected President of the United States, Trump had thundered in a tweet: “As I have long been saying, South Africa is a total –and very dangerous mess. I really like Nelson Mandela but South Africa is a crime-ridden mess that is just waiting to explode – not a good situation for the people.”
BUT DID TRUMP MAKE THIS PARTICULAR STATEMENT?
Because Trump has established a reputation as a ‘loose cannon’, a man who probably talks before he thinks, it is tempting to believe any comments ascribed to him. News platforms that feed on fake news (such as this one) take advantage of this and concoct statements and credit them to Trump.
However, he did not make this statement. Firstly, no other news platform posted this news. For such an inciteful statement as this, more newsrooms would have scrambled to publish it on their platforms but they didn’t.
Also, we contacted the United States Embassy in Abuja and got this response: “Thank you for bringing this story to our attention. It certainly appears to be fake news. We are currently confirming whether that is indeed the case. We will get back to you as soon as possible.”
The Department sent another message some days later: “The Department has done due diligence and informed me that none of the quotes contained in the “Brutal Truth” item is attributable to President Trump.”
WHY DO PEOPLE BELIEVE THESE STORIES AND SHARE?
Associate Professor, Policy Analysis and Comparative Politics, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja, Mutiullah Olasupo, proffers an answer:
“I have equally read it and I believe it is fake news, they concocted such news in order to rubbish African leaders. Many Nigerians share such fake news because we don’t believe in our political leaders and we don’t also accept the way and manner they have been administering us.
“So when you have such a political situation, there is every possibility that people will find it difficult to believe in their political leaders and anything that comes, particularly those things that will rubbish and negate the essence of the political leadership will actually be believed and that is why people quickly believed the statement credited to Donald Trump.”
A Development consultant, public affairs analyst and columnist Jide Ojo corroborated Olasupo’s views:
“The point is about leadership and the fact that we have not had very good leadership since the time of independence. We have always had issues with corruption and bad leadership.
“It goes a long way to show that there is even a level of admittance by our leaders that we have those issues that are purportedly being attributed to Donald Trump and you will also see a lot of attributions. It makes us feel good to say that even outsiders are telling us about our challenges.”