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#RejectFinanceBill2024: Nigerians share misleading videos to instigate protest

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Claim: Amidst the protest over the tax hike bill introduced in Kenya by the William Ruto-led administration, several social media users shared some videos to urge Nigerians to engage in similar actions across the country.

#RejectFinanceBill2024: Nigerians share misleading videos to instigate protest

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Kenyan citizens have been staging widespread protests since mid-June 2024 to demand the withdrawal of the government’s proposed Finance Bill, which would have raised taxes by an estimated $2.7 billion. Thousands took to the streets in peaceful demonstrations in major cities like Nairobi and Mombasa to voice their opposition to the tax hikes.

However, the violent turn of events on June 20, 2024, when police clashed with demonstrators, spurred protesters to storm the Parliament building a few days later, leaving a section of the building in flames. The military crackdown that followed suit led to about 23 death cases and injuries to hundreds. President William Ruto defended the military reaction but withdrew the contentious Finance Bill on June 24, 2024, a significant victory for the protesters.

While this has temporarily defused the situation, the activists are now focusing on tackling broader corruption and governance issues in Kenya. They have vowed to continue protesting until the government meets their political and economic reform demands.

However, the ripple effect is felt even in Nigeria, as several social media influencers have shared some videos and claimed they were footage of the protest in Kenya. The posts called for Nigerians, still reeling from the aftermath of the #EndSARS protest in 2020, to embark on another nationwide protest against the harsh living conditions in the country. 

For instance, a Twitter user, Bishop X (@BishopPOEvang), posted a 38-second-long video and wrote in Pidgin, “Nigerians, do you see Kenya? Yet, our own is to trend Davido’s wedding. Nonsense.”

Since June 25, 2024, more than 1.9 million Twitter users have watched the video, gaining more than 16,500 reactions, 6,219 retweets and 1,500 comments with more than 1,000 bookmarks as of June 30, 2024.

The sentiment observed in the comment section indicated that viewers agreed with the post.

A post found on the verified Instagram account of the veteran Nigerian singer Charly Boy showed him hailing Kenyan youths for burning an aeroplane, and his posted video claimed it belonged to Kenyan President William Ruto.

As of July 2, 2024, more than 83,700 users had watched the video, 593 comments, and 3,938 reactions. Most viewers who commented hailed the Kenyan protesters’ destruction of the plane. Both videos promoted the upheaval in Kenya, calling for equivalent action in Nigeria. This prompted DUBAWA to fact-check the videos.

Verification

Using Google Reverse Image Search on a keyframe in the video, we found the first video on a Facebook post from Voice of Ethiopia on Sept. 17, 2018, meaning it was an outdated video from Ethiopia, a different country. DUBAWA used a keyword search and discovered that the demonstration was in reaction to the ethnic conflict in 2018 between the Oromos and young men from Addis Ababa, which led to about 23 cases of death in Ethiopia.

For the second post, we searched for a reverse image on a keyframe in the video and found pictures of a plane at Uhuru Park. Further findings revealed that the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) revamped the recreation centre in 2021, brought a discarded plane into the park, refurbished it, and converted it into a restaurant. In 2023, the park became publicly accessible.

DUBAWA compared keyframes from the protest footage with pictures taken at the park and found similarities. The floor and the plane colour in the protest footage resembled the plane at Uhuru Park.

#RejectFinanceBill2024: Nigerians share misleading videos to instigate protest
Screenshot from the protest video
#RejectFinanceBill2024: Nigerians share misleading videos to instigate protest
Picture from the Uhuru Park. Source: Bonface Bongita/Nairobi News

With this revelation, we compared the picture at Uhuru Park with the news on Africa Report that the video referenced. We found no resemblance. Though both planes had the same structure as the Boeing 700, the colour difference betrayed the claim. While the Uhuru plane’s fuselage is coloured white and blue, the president’s plane, as identified in the report, is all-white with lines of yellow and blue in the middle.

#RejectFinanceBill2024: Nigerians share misleading videos to instigate protest
Screenshot of the news on Africa Report
#RejectFinanceBill2024: Nigerians share misleading videos to instigate protest
Screenshot of the claim’s video.

Conclusion

The first video was about an Ethiopian ethnic protest in 2018, while the second post was not the president’s jet but a revamped plane at Uhuru Park. Despite an ongoing protest in Kenya over the finance policy bill, the fact-checked videos were misleading.

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