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Six major misinformation subjects Nigerian fact-checkers battled in 2020

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Fake news has gradually evolved to settle as a force that can’t be completely ruled out so long there is a trending debate in the media. 

As the never-ending fight against fake news continues in the new year,  Dubawa looks back and presents the major misinformation subjects in 2020.

1. Alleged Death of a Nigerian in the Ukrainian Flight Crash 

In January, a Ukrainian flight, Boeing 737-800, crashed shortly after take-off. Subsequent reports, originating from Nigerian news platforms claimed that a Nigerian, Dauda Onoruoiza was one of the 176 passengers that lost their lives in the crash. 

However, Dubawa’s findings revealed some red flags suggesting otherwise. Only Nigerian news outlets reported that Mr Dauda Onoruoiza was aboard while major international news outlets failed to report any Nigerian present on the flight. Dubawa assumed Mr Dauda had dual citizenship and proceeded to search his name on the plane’s manifest, but there was no Dauda Onoroizua on the list.

Dubawa also found out that the picture circulated with the reports belonged to one Mr Bernard Adeleye who was forced to come after seeing his picture in circulation and being proclaimed dead. Interestingly, Mr Dauda is now Mr Bernerd. According to Mr Bernard, “I am not dead; in fact, I have never travelled to Ukraine before. I have never travelled by air before let alone travelling to Ukraine. So, why will someone use my picture and claim that I was the Nigerian that died in the Ukraine plane crash? The picture that was used in the publications was the same picture that I used on my Instagram page in 2018, and this was the exact outfit I am putting on now. This has really affected me as I now wear a face cap to cover my face because whenever I am walking on the road, people call me “dead man walking.”

With this, it is safe to say the story was made up to justify Dubawa’s rating

2. Chloroquine, Hydroxychloroquine as Covid-19 cure

“We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic.” 

The above was a remark given by Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) at a gathering of foreign policy and security experts in Munich, Germany, in mid-February. The remark serves as an acknowledgement of the mis/dis-information flying about the New Coronavirus. 

Recall the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and was declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30th of January 2020 a few weeks before the index case was identified in Nigeria. Since then, fake news peddlers kept churning out content about the virus; who has it, how it spreads and most especially the cure. Read the full article here

FACT CHECKS OF THE WEEK 

A photo circulating and rumours making rounds suggest that the COVID-19 vaccine leads to Penis Enlargement. However, Dubawa’s findings proved otherwise.

A web-based message going round on WhatsApp claims that the Federal Government is offering  N10,500 weekly as COVID-19 second wave grants. But, how true is this claim?

A meme shared by Health Volunteers Nigeria Initiative claims the bacteria that causes leprosy is spread through airborne respiratory droplets by coughing or sneezing. The caption in the tweet notes that…

QandA

  • Is NIMC offering N10,000 and 5GB data to old sim users?

The information circulating on WhatsApp that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) is offering  N10, 000 and 5GB as a verification reward program for those who have been using their SIM cards for more than three months is false. The link attached to the WhatsApp broadcast leads to a fraudulent and untrustworthy website.

  • Will COVID-19 Vaccine be injected through the penis?

No, the claim is false and Misleading. Dubawa found the meme to be a hoax and all directives for the administration of COVID-19 vaccine are on the arm.

  • Do you get 10,500 as COVID-19 second wave grant?

The spokesperson to the Federal Agency affiliated with the claim (ministry of humanitarian affairs, disaster management, and social development) confirmed that the link is fraudulent and false. Therefore, no one is getting 10,500 as widely circulated. 

What you need to know about new COVID-19 health protection regulation signed by Buhari

With the emergence of the second wave and hike in the number of COVID-19 cases, President Muhammadu Buhari signed (on Wednesday, January 27, 2021)  a new law titled Coronavirus Disease Health Protection Regulation 2021

Dubawa has summarized and highlighted the provisions of the new law. Click here to read.

Coronavirus infection count 

Note: Total cases may be more than officially stated owing to the inability to include unconfirmed cases. Stay safe

Tip of the week 

#FakeNews Alert 

  • COVID-19 HERBAL SOLUTION JUST IN – WhatsApp Message 

A WhatsApp Message claims that a herbal solution for COVID-19 has been discovered by an Indian Student. While the veracity of this claim is yet to be established, we advise against further distribution of this message to avoid misinforming others.

Other Fact-checks/Articles 

Strengthening Investigative Journalism for the fight against corruption in Nigeria.

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