Democracy Day

  • Viral image depicting police officer shooting at protesters fact-checked

    Claim: Viral Image attributed to ChannelsTV claims a policeman shot a protester in Abuja.

    Dubawa’s findings show that while the viral image originated from Channels Television, there is a miscommunication in the viral image and this is owing to an error in the initial caption attached to the image on ChannelsTv’s Facebook page which was later edited to reflect the actual incident. While the viral claim made it seem like the police shot the protester with a gun, the correction made by the TV station suggests that the police shot teargas not live bullets.

    Full Text

    On Saturday, 12th of June, 2021, Dubawa came across a Facebook post by Adaeze Adaobi under the trending hashtag – #june12thprotest. The post which came with an accompanying image reads, “Am hearing that A Nigerian police shot at unharmed peaceful protester today #june12thprotest.” The attached image showing a policeman aiming at protesters and a Channels TV watermark was used to circulate the claim that a policeman was shooting at a protester.

    While this post in isolation has 3 likes and 9 comments, Dubawa, with the aid of CrowdTangle, a social media monitoring tool, found several other Facebook pages that have published the image with this caption: ‘A policeman shoots at protesters in Abuja on June 12, 2021. Sodiq Adekunle channels television.’

    The viral image

    The other Facebook pages include blogs, influencers and celebrities. As of the time this fact check is written, the post had garnered over 25,000 interactions on Facebook.

    A screenshot of CrowdTangle results. 

    Dubawa is aware that fake news thrives on trending topics and is skeptical of the viral image especially with the consciousness of the practice of recirculating old images as new, falsely attributing images to authoritative sources and taking images out of context.

    Verification

    Dubawa started its search using the Google Reverse Image tool, which shows that the image originated from Channels Television as claimed by the various Facebook pages that shared it. 

    Since the origin of the image has been established, Dubawa proceeded to Channels Television’s official website and Facebook account, where it found a similar but contradicting headline/caption; while the viral caption read ‘A policeman shoots at protesters in Abuja on June 12, 2021. Sodiq Adekunle channels television,’ the post on the official website and the Facebook account reads: ‘A policeman shoots teargas at protesters in Abuja on June 12, 2021. (Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television)’

    Caption as in the viral image
    Caption on Channels Television’s Facebook page

    Considering that Facebook, unlike Twitter, allows users to edit their posts and the availability of various digital manipulation tools for internet users, this researcher guessed accordingly and looked further to confirm the presented hypothesis.

    Before now, Facebook used to publicly indicate that a post has been edited by placing an ‘Edited’ label next to the post’s date, nonetheless, this Edited tag has now been hidden. Well, not entirely as users can still access it by clicking and tapping on the three dots (menu) located at the upper-left corner of a post and select View edit history.

    Dubawa followed the process explained above and found that Channels TV actually made the post but edited the caption about an hour later to include ‘Teargas’. 

    Conclusion

    Dubawa’s findings show that while the viral image originated from Channels Television, there is a miscommunication in the image and this is owing to an error in the initial caption attached to it on ChannelsTv’s Facebook page which was later edited to reflect the actual incident. While the viral claim made it seem like the police shot the protester with a gun, the correction made by the TV station suggests that the police shot teargas not live bullets.

    It is evident in this fact check how the omission of a single word can send an entirely different meaning from what’s intended. It is also evident how fast misinformation spreads. Dubawa advises patience when sharing and receiving information.

  • How true is claim Twitter changed retweet button to green in solidarity with #June12thProtest?

    Claim: A Twitter user claims the Retweet button on Twitter has been changed from blue to green in solidarity with Nigeria 

    There is no new change to Twitter’s Retweet button as it has always been green.

    Full Text

    Amid the June 12 protest which is being promoted largely on Twitter, a Twitter user (@ChibuzorUkwu) claims Twitter’s Retweet button has been changed from blue to green in solidarity with Nigeria.

    “Twitter has changed the retweet button colour from blue to green in solidarity with Nigerians on #June12thProtest”.

    Excerpt of Twitter post caption. 

    Screenshot of @ChibuzorUkwu’s Twitter post.

    While some users in the comment section say the Retweet button has always been green, others say their’s is still blue.

    Screenshot of the comment section.

    Verification

    Dubawa conducted a Keyword search which led to a 2016 report by  Independent announcing that the Twitter Retweet button had been changed from forest green to a much brighter, minty green shade.

    Screenshot of Independent report.

    This search also led to a Twitter post in 2016 by Matt Navarra (@MattNavarra) noting this change just as the Independent reported.

    Screenshot of Matt Navarra’s Twitter post.

    Conclusion

    There is no new change to Twitter’s Retweet button as it has always been green.  Even when it was changed in 2016, it was from one shade of green to another and the change was in no way connected to Nigeria. This makes the claim false.

  • President Muhammadu Buhari’s Democracy Day Speech

    President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday, 29th May 2018 addressed the nation in commemoration of the 19th year of Nigeria’s democracy and the 3rd Anniversary of his administration. In his speech, he made a number of claims which may or may not be true, false or just plain exaggeration.

    CLAIM 1: N200 BILLION HAS BEEN SAVED FROM ELIMINATION OF GHOST WORKERS

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “The Treasury Single Account (TSA) has realized Billions of Naira being saved from maintenance fee payable to banks. N200 Billion has also been saved from elimination of ghost workers in public service.”

    FACTS!

    This claim has been made severally by the government, even though there is no publicly available documentation to support the claim. As a result, we have already sent Freedom of Information letters to the Ministry of Finance to demand details of the amount of money that have been saved from the elimination of ghost workers in the public service.

    Until we are able to get the official figures from the Ministry of Finance, this claim remains UNPROVEN.

    CLAIM 2: 30% OF THE 2016 BUDGET WAS ALLOCATED FOR CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FOR THE FIRST TIME

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “In 2016, Government executed an expansionary budget and developed the Strategic Implementation Plan. For the first time, 30% of the budget was earmarked for capital expenditure which represents an upward review when compared with the 2015 budget. The SIP was followed by the development of a comprehensive medium-term plan – the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan 2017 – 2020.”

    FACTS!

    It is worthy of note that this is not the first time the president will make this claim. In 2015 while he was presenting the 2016 budget to a joint session of the National Assembly, President Buhari said “for the first time in many years, capital expenditure will represent 30% of our total budget”.

    However, according to the Budget Office of the Federation, in at least three years since 2008, there had been more than 30% budgetary allocation for capital projects in Nigeria.

    In 2008, under Umaru Musa Yaradua’s government, capital project allocation was actually 35% of the total budget size, a figure which is 7% higher than the 2016 capital expenditure budget.

    Also in 2013, the capital project allocation of the budget was 31.7%.

    It is also worth reiterating that the 2016 budget, as approved by President Buhari has an aggregate expenditure of N6,060,677,358,227 (N6 trillion) and the total release for capital projects, according to the Accountant General, was N1,219,471,747,443 (N1.2 trillion) which then translates to only 20% actually spent on Capital Projects.

    To remove any element of doubt as to the clarity of the President’s statement, we also checked to see if he meant “the first time in his administration” which would refer to 2015-2018. If that is the case, the statement would still be FALSE as even though the 2018 budget was passed by the National Assembly with a total expenditure of N9.1 trillion out of which N2.8 trillion (30%) would be set aside for capital projects, there had actually been an instance of 30% allocation during his administration.

    In 2017, a total expenditure of N7.44 trillion was passed by the National Assembly, out of which N2.99 trillion was for non-debt recurrent spending, while N2.36 trillion was budgeted for capital expenditure, the figure which represents 31% of the entire budget.

    Therefore, the claim that the 2016 or even 2018 capital expenditure is the highest is not only FALSE but also misleading. More so, although 30% was allocated, the government did not actually spend up to that amount on capital projects.

    CLAIM 3: THE ECONOMY GREW BY 1.95% IN 2018

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “The National Bureau of Statistics reports that the economy grew by 1.95% in 1st quarter 2018, which is a good performance when viewed against -0.91 in 1st quarter 2017 and -0.67% in 1st quarter 2016 respectively.”

    FACTS!

    According to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.95% (Year-on-Year) in real terms in the First Quarter of 2018. This shows a stronger growth when compared with the First Quarter of 2017 which recorded a growth of -0.91%, indicating an increase of 2.87% points. Compared to the preceding Quarter, there was a decline of -0.16% points from 2.11%.

    By the First Quarter of 2018, Aggregate GDP stood at N28,464,322.01 (28.4 million) in nominal terms. This performance is higher when compared to the First Quarter of 2017 which recorded a Nominal GDP Aggregate of N26,028,356.03 (26 million), thus, presenting a positive Year-on-Year nominal growth rate of 9.36%.

    As documented by the National Bureau of Statistics, the president’s claim that the economy grew by 1.95% in First Quarter 2018 is TRUE.

    CLAIM 4: THE SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND HAS INCREASED BY ADDITIONAL US$650 MILLION

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “The Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million so as to strengthen its investment in local infrastructure, power, health, re-construction of Abuja-Kano road, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, East-West Road (Section V) and the Mambilla Hydro-electric Power project as well as the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge.”

    FACTS!

    The Sovereign Wealth Fund, set up in 2012 to save and manage excess money made from the sale of crude oil, is managed by the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority. The funds are separated into three namely: the Nigeria Infrastructure Fund which has 40%, Future Generations Fund, also 40% and the Stabilisation Fund which is 20%.

    Last week, the Managing Director/CEO of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority (NSIA), Mr Uche Orji confirmed that the transfer of $650 million to the NSIA as seed funding for Presidential Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) had been approved.

    Therefore, the claim by president Buhari that the Sovereign Wealth Fund project portfolio has been expanded with an injection of US$650 million is TRUE. Nevertheless, we cannot confirm whether the money will be used for the construction of the 2nd Niger Bridge or other projects as disclosed by the President.

    CLAIM 5: FOREIGN RESERVE HAS SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVED AS OF MAY 2018 AND INFLATIONARY RATE HAS DECLINED SINCE JANUARY 2017

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “Our foreign reserve has improved significantly to 47.5 billion USD as of May 2018 as against 29.6 billion USD in 2015. The inflationary rate has consistently declined every month since January 2017.”

    FACTS!

    According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s external reserves (which consists of official public sector foreign assets used for financing payment imbalances and exchange rate regulation) is steadily growing and currently amounts to US$47.5 billion.

    Data from the Central Bank of Nigeria also shows that the inflation rate in Q1 of 2017 was 18.72%, the highest in Buhari’s administration since May 2015 when the inflation rate was recorded at 9%. Prior to 2015, the inflation rate hovered around 7 to 8.6% for 4 Quarters. In February 2017, the rate fell to 17.78% and ever since the inflation rate has been decreasing and in Q1 2018, it dropped to 13.34%.

    Both claims are therefore TRUE!

    CLAIM 6: RICE IMPORTATION HAS BEEN REDUCED BY 90%

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “Under agriculture, Nigeria continues to pursue a strategic food security programme built around self-sufficiency and minimization of import dependency. As a result, rice importation from other countries has been cut down by 90% which has a direct impact on foreign reserves.”

    FACTS!

    There is no documented evidence to back up the president’s claim that Nigeria’s rice import has reduced by 90%. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Nigeria consumes more rice than any African country and is one of the biggest producers and importers of the grain on the continent.

    In 2015, the Nigerian government through the Central Bank of Nigeria imposed import restrictions on rice and introduced a borrowing programme to stimulate local rice production while reducing the country’s food import bills, available data from Index Mundi and the United States Department of Agriculture states that rice imports increased from 2.1 million tonnes in 2015 to an estimated 2.5 million tonnes of rice in 2016, 2.6 million tonnes in 2017 and 3.0 million tonnes in 2018.

    Also, according to the International Grain Council, rice imports in 2016 was estimated to be 2.1 million tonnes and 2.7million tonnes in 2017. It is estimated that Nigeria’s rice import will be 2.8 million tonnes in 2018.

    Therefore, the president’s claim that Nigeria’s rice import has reduced by 90% remains UNPROVEN.

    CLAIM 7: THE SOCIAL INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES (SIP) HAS RECORDED WINS

    BUHARI’S WORDS:

    “The Social Investment Programmes (SIP) has been created as a means to graduating our citizens from poverty through capacity building, investment and direct support…The SIP programmes and projects include: Home Grown School Feeding Programme – About 8.2 million pupils are currently being fed from 24 States of the Federation with over 75,000 Catering Staff engaged under the programme, the Conditional Cash Transfer has so far recorded over 297,000 caregivers and being trained by 2,495 Community Facilitators in 21 states… N-Power Job creation Scheme – is targeted at providing jobs for unemployed young graduates and has so far recruited 200,000 youths…”

    FACTS!

    Due to the unavailability of information, DUBAWA has sent a letter to the presidency to request for details of the implementation of the Social Investment Programme. This report will be updated once we obtain sufficient details. However, we have verified the claim that the government is engaging 200,000 youths under its NPOWER programme. Information available on the website of the scheme states that only 200,000 Nigerians have been enrolled so far in the scheme.

    So while other claims are unproven, the president’s claim on NPower engaging 200,000 youths is TRUE.

    (This report will be updated as new information arises)

  • How Accurate Is Buhari’s Claim About The Price Of Crude Oil Between 1999 And 2014?

    President Muhammadu Buhari had always, almost at any opportunity, made claims to decry how previous governments mismanaged the economy and how much Nigeria had made from oil sales since 1999.

    He repeated the same statement on Tuesday when he received a delegation of the Buhari Support Organisation (BSO) at the Presidential Villa. The President said that he challenges anyone to check, either in Europe, Asia or America, that between 1999 and 2014, Nigeria was producing 2.1 million barrels per day of crude oil at an average cost of $100 per barrel. He said the price even went up to $143.

    “When we came, it collapsed to $37-38 and it was oscillating between $40 and $54 sometimes”, he said.

    THE CLAIMS:

    1. Between 1999 and 2014, the average cost of crude oil per barrel was $100
    2. Nigeria produced crude oil at an average of 2.1 million barrels per day between 1999 and 2014

    VERIFICATION OF CLAIMS:

    This is not the first time that President Buhari would make claims on oil prices. In 2016 during the Democracy Day celebration, he was recorded to have said that the average oil price was $100 per barrel from 2010 till 2014.

    On October 1, 2016, the Nation’s Independence Day, President Buhari, addressing the country, modified his statement that oil prices were “an average of 100 USD per barrel over the last decade.”

    During 2017 Independence Day celebration, Buhari widened the timeline to “1999-2015.”

    The inconsistency in claims and the need to promote true information makes it imperative to explore the veracity of the claims.

    AVERAGE COST OF CRUDE OIL NOT $100

    From records of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as quoted by Statista, in 1999, the average annual price of crude oil was about $17.4 per barrel. It was $27.6 in 2000, $23.1 in 2001, $24.3 in 2002, $28.1 in 2003 and in 2004, it was $36.5. Oil sold for $50.5 per barrel in 2005, $61 in 2006, $69 in 2007, $94.1 in 2008, $60.8 in 2009 and in 2010, oil price was $77.3.

    In 2011, the average annual price of oil had gotten to a record high of $107 per barrel, increasing to $109 per barrel in 2012, $105.8 in 2013 and $96.2 in 2014.

    The average oil price between 1999 and 2014 is $61.7 per barrel and a far cry from an average of $100 per barrel President Buhari had claimed, therefore that claim is INCORRECT.

    Oil Prices Per Barrel (1999-2014) [Source: Statista/OPEC]
    HOW MUCH CRUDE OIL DID NIGERIA PRODUCE BETWEEN 1999 AND 2014?

    President Buhari also claims that Nigeria had produced crude oil at an average of 2.1 million barrels per day between 1999 and 2014.

    According to NEITI, Nigeria produced about 14,068,235,000 (14 billion) barrels of crude oil averaging about 827,543,235 (827 million) barrels per year since 1999. This leaves us with an average oil production of 2,267,241 (2.2 million) barrels per day.

    Therefore, the President’s claim that Nigeria’s oil production figure is an average of 2.1m barrels per day is CORRECT.

    In the same speech, the President claimed that there was a time oil price was $143 per barrel. This claim is correct, because according to Country Economy, on July 11th, 2008, oil price historically hit $143.6, However, this is just for a day as the average oil price for the year 2008 was $94.

    CONCLUSION

    The president’s claim that crude oil was selling for $100 per barrel between 1999 and 2014 is FALSE as available data showed that the figure is $61.7 per barrel. Nevertheless, it was CONFIRMED that Nigeria’s oil production figure is an average of 2.1m barrels per day.

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