fakenews

  • Recirculated Image of Police Impersonator not Kaduna Deputy Commissioner of Police as claimed

    Claim: Facebook users are circulating an image of a man wearing police camouflage with the claim that he is a Kaduna State Deputy Commissioner of Police who was arrested with kidnappers when he went to supply them firearms.

    The image and content in circulation are that of a Police imposter arrested in Akwa Ibom in 2019 and therefore cannot be that of a Deputy Commissioner of Police in Kaduna. Hence, the claim is FALSE.

    Full Text

    The picture of a man wearing a police camouflage in what appeared to be a Nigerian-styled parade of criminals is being circulated by social media users with the caption that he is an Assistant Commissioner of Police in Kaduna State. According to a Facebook post by Araba Kayode, it is the image of a Kaduna State Deputy Commissioner of Police and his accomplices after they were arrested while the alleged DCP was supplying weapons to kidnappers. Before this recent circulation, Ayonla MultiMedia had posted on April 13, 2021, the same image with the caption: “Kaduna State Deputy Commissioner of Police went to give arms to kidnappers, unfortunately, he was arrested with them. Hmm! Wonders shall never end. The post received over 1,000 comments and was shared over 12, 000 times. 

    Ayonla MultiMedia posted the image of the alleged police officer in April 2021 

    Verification

    Dubawa first traced the origin of the image by using Yandex Reverse Image search which revealed that the picture has been shared several times and goes as far back as 2019. The image was also traced to several counter narratives and even fact checks in the past that stated that the image of the alleged Deputy Commissioner of Police was fake. Several reports published in 2019 show that the man from the image in question was arrested in January 2019 for impersonating a police officer. Nigerian Police Spokesman, CP Frank Mba, who was then a Deputy Commissioner of Police had then said: “The suspect in Police uniform with the rank of an Assistant Commissioner of Police, is one Kingsley Udoyen, male, 56 years, of No 3, Stadium Road, Abak, Akwa Ibom State is a fake Police officer and not a serving Assistant Commissioner of Police.”

    The image has been used numerous times either as claims or rebuttals as shown by Yandex Reverse Image Search

    For further clarification, Dubawa reached out to the Kaduna State Police Command which equally debunked the claim. The Command’s Public Relations Officer, ASP Mohammed Jalige, said the attention of the state’s command was drawn to what he described as “fake news making round on social media,” alleging that “Kaduna State Deputy Commissioner of Police went to give firearms to kidnappers; unfortunately, he was arrested with them.”

    ASP Jalige said the image in circulation was not that of any police officer in Kaduna Command or anywhere in Nigeria adding that: “The image with camouflage uniform wearing the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police is one Kinsley Udoyem who was arrested and paraded by Akwa-Ibom Police Command on the 2nd January 2019 for the offence of impersonating a Police Officer.” He urged the public to disregard the fake claim and stop its circulation.

    Conclusion

    This shows that the content with the image in circulation is fake; the man in the camouflage police uniform is an impersonator that was arrested in Akwa Ibom in 2019 and not in Kaduna State.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with The Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • How true is claim heart massage increases blood circulation?

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp video claims doing a few minutes heart massage and breathing exercises would increase blood circulation in two weeks.

    Verdict: This is disinformation. Experts say this massage will, at best, only provide psychological relief and does not affect blood circulation in any way.

    Full Text

    Dubawa received a WhatsApp message which included a video on June 22, 2021, claiming that doing the massage routine in the attached video is capable of curing heart blockages. The message attached to the video claimed the procedure “had saved thousands from heart blockages” and that those who had tried it confirmed it cured them from “back pain” in “just seven days”. This message and video have been shared on numerous WhatsApp groups and private chats after that date.

    Screen shot of the WhatsApp message

    Dubawa watched the video produced by Austin Goh, who led the over three minutes exercise, explaining to viewers how to do the heart massage and breathing procedures that would increase blood circulation. He also added voice overs from time to time, noting what each procedure would help viewers achieve, and promising them relief if they practised the procedure for two weeks.

    Screenshot of the conclusion of the video

    Who is Austin Goh?

    Austin Goh, a Chinese born in Malaysia, is a self-proclaimed natural therapist who says he helps “people with chronic health problems get rid of their pain”. He was a martial artist who had an injury and defied medical advice to amputate. He claimed he rehabilitated his shattered knee by himself and has been helping people overcome health issues like chronic sinusitis since January, 1984. He teaches Wing Chun Kung Fu at Austin Goh Martial Arts Academy in London and has degrees in Physical Education and English Language from England. Austin Goh has a Youtube channel with 798 thousand subscribers and 388 uploaded videos. 

    Screenshot of Austin Goh’s Youtube Page

    The Video

    Dubawa searched for the blood circulation video and found that it was posted on Youtube on February 1, 2019 and it had been watched 6,411 times with 87 likes and only 2 dislikes. 

    Screenshot of the video description on Youtube

    Many viewers or subscribers believed it and asked questions on how they could maximise the benefits of the massage for blood circulation.

    Screenshot of a viewer asking questions about the exercise

    Another viewer commends the procedure and extolled its benefits

    S

    Screenshot of a subscriber commending the exercise

    We also have skeptics who doubt the procedure and shared their thoughts on Mr. Goh’s page.

    Screenshot of a doubtful or confused viewer’s comments

    Verification

    Dubwa shared the video with two Consultant Cardiologists in Nigeria who both say there is no medical or scientific evidence to back Goh’s theory.

    Dr. Hassan Olayinka Olaiwola, a Consultant Cardiologist with Grandville Medical and Laser in Lagos State, Nigeria, says the procedure is pure fallacy and that rubbing or massaging the chest around the heart area does not affect or influence blood circulation. Dr. Olaiwola commented that “at best”, the exercise “would give the person doing it some psychological relief”.

    Dr. Sanni Saheed of Federal Medical Centre, Abeokuta, Ogun State, told Dubawa that he “watched the video to the end” and it is “pure disinformation”, arguing that “none of the actions in the video improves the cardiac function or blood flow”.

    Dr. Sanni said he knows people are eager to take care of their health and he therefore recommended walking for about 30 minutes daily, jogging, using the treadmill as scientifically backed exercises to help the heart. He says the exercises also “improve cardiopulmonary functions” which are the interrelationship between the workings of the heart and lung organs.


    Conclusion

    The internet is full of many self-professed natural health therapists who put the lives of their audiences at risk for psychological and financial gains. The claim by Austin Goh is false. Experts say this massage will, at best, only provide psychological relief and does not affect blood circulation in any way.

  • Weekly Newsletter: August 17, 2020

    By Ebele Oputa, Lateef Sanni

    A pause or end to coronavirus-misinformation in Nigeria?

    As governments and businesses come to terms with the new reality, coronavirus-related misinformation paved the way for more politically motivated disinformation this month. From subtle claims that indicate an internal power tussle in the country’s ruling party, All Progressive Congress (APC), to another false claim that would ordinarily seem ridiculous to an educated Nigerian but still plays into the narrative that in Nigeria anything can happen; even including the rumoured selection of a notorious terrorist as the country’s Vice President!

    This nationally accepted culture of “anyhowness”, often used to depict the injudiciousness of the political class, and sometimes of the average Nigerian (depending on the context), means that a picture of a shabby wooden bridge allegedly constructed for N2.3 billion naira by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will go viral. In reality, while the NDDC is being probed for fraud and massive mismanagement of government funds, the bridge in question was actually a self-help project built by the community. 

    In a similar vein, Dubawa had to debunk a claim of misinterpreted numbers in relation to NDDC and to another claim by a Twitter user who ‘authoritatively’ made a false statement about the percentage of stamp duty revenues collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (as, it is longer uncommon for Twitter users to present baseless opinions as facts).

    Should false photos ever be permitted? 

    In the wake of the recurring violence in Southern Kaduna, photos emerged to create mental images of the havoc caused by ethnic and religious killings that have been left to foster by the government. Some of these photos were verified by our researchers and found to be false. The digital tool, Wayback Machine, shows that two of the photos randomly selected had nothing to do with the killings in Southern Kaduna, while the third has been in online circulation as far back as 2014.

    But the questions to ponder are – should unwitting netizens be given a free pass to post wrong accompanying photos that, according to them, are visual representations of their feelings? Will attaching a false rating to such posts by fact checkers reduce the severity of the claims or social issues? How can a fact checker determine intent, that is, if a wrong accompanying photo was attached deliberately or indeliberately? 

    Prima facie, the answer to the last question seems the easiest. A trends analysis of a social media account can provide enough information to reveal insights about the owner’s personality, political leanings, or even predict future behavior. Yet, humans are known to make mistakes or begin new paths, like promoting a different political narrative for financial gains.

    While it is difficult to provide answers to these questions, it is for this reason that personal responsibility and context matter.  Every internet user is indebted to the online community and must act as he/she would if there were strict due diligence laws; just as much as fact-checkers must provide clarity behind ratings so as not to fall prey to the very mechanisms of confusion exercised by misinformers!


    Fact checks of the week

    Did Jonathan Collect Loan From China for Abuja-Kaduna Railway Project? – In the din over Nigeria’s compounding debt profile towards China, Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, claimed, on Channels TV, that ex-President Goodluck Jonathan collected loans from China

    EXPLAINER: Five reasons you should be involved in your children’s media consumption and how – It is almost impossible for parents to completely monitor their children over the media they consume in the new media age. However, parents can guide their children by mediating…

    Residents protesting Southern Kaduna killings [Source: The Nation]

    How Rogue Photography is Used to Keep Southern Kaduna Tragedy Alive – A Twitter user, Samson Adeyemi, recently posted four pictures purportedly depicting the victims of the latest attacks in Southern Kaduna and their aggressors


    Coronavirus Q & A

    • What is the Update on Vaccines?

    As of August 16th, the New York Times Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker has it that two vaccines have been approved (Note:  on the tracker, approval means regulators in each country review the trial results and decide whether to approve the vaccine or not). One from a Chinese company CanSino Biologics, approved for limited use and the other from the Gamaleya Research Institute, part of Russia’s Ministry of Health, approved for early use. (continue reading)

    • What are the processes involved in producing a vaccine?

    According to the  Centre for Disease Control and Prevention vaccines go through six stages before approval. These stages are the exploratory stage, pre-clinical stage, clinical development, regulatory review and approval, manufacturing, and Quality control. Clinical development is a three-phase process. During Phase I, small groups of people receive the trial vaccine. In Phase II, the clinical study is expanded and the vaccine is given to people who have characteristics (such as age and physical health) similar to those for whom the new vaccine is intended. In Phase III, the vaccine is given to thousands of people and tested for efficacy and safety.

    • Is the Russian Vaccine Safe?

    Since Vladamir Putin, Russia President announced the approval of a COVID-19 Vaccine – Sputnik V – manufactured in Russia, there has been an influx of questions in respect to its potency and safety but there’s not a specific answer. Although Mr Putin has gushed about its efficacy, health experts are not convinced that the product is effective. (Continue reading)The vaccine, reportedly, has passed through first and second clinical trials but yet to conclude the third phase. A report by CNN states, “Scientists conducted months of human trials but are yet to publish data and did not begin the crucial Phase 3 stage, which usually precedes approval, before the announcement (of the vaccine) on Tuesday.” 


    What can you do?

    Be alert, share our tips and don’t share false news! 


    Tip of the week

    New Deadly Virus Surfaces In China – SOURCE: OnlineBlog (TheElitesNG)

    Be sure to confirm this information from credible news websites before sharing with relatives or friends.  

    Makinde sacks works commissioner who spent 55 days treating COVID-19 – SOURCE: OnlineBlog (NewMail)

    Questions to ask yourself: Who is your source’s source?  Which other platform has published this?

    DSTV Moves Nigeria’s NTA to Channel 419, What a Sad Coincidence – SOURCE: OnlineBlog (DocpetInfo)

    Verify the content of this news report; be sure it is not satire, misconstrued or a clickbait. Check other news platform or search your decoder to confirm the report.

    BREAKING: Universities, Poly and Others to Resume September as Post-UTME Kicks Off (MOST READ) – SOURCE: Facebook Claim (MySchoolNews)

    Be sceptical while approaching any Breaking News especially when it is published by a random page. Get more information from credible websites, in this context, the Ministry of Education would be the right source.


    Other Fact-checks 

  • Weekly Newsletter on the Ongoing Infodemic: August 9, 2020

    By Silas Jonathan

    Are fact-checkers at the brim of COVID-19 vaccine-related misinformation?

    When Stella Immanuel, a doctor, made public claims that an anti-malaria drug can treat and cure Covid-19, the world that was already yearning for such information raced, even if uncritically, to believe her claims. While the announcement came to some as a soothing surprise, others viewed it as a dangerous claim that completely lacked basis, that could be the foundation for an insidious misinformation. For most fact-checkers, however, the claim merely compounded entries into an irritating reserve of skepticism. 

    What’s more, for fact-checkers, the dilemma further deepened the gullibility of people, especially amidst the pandemic when people are desperate for solutions.  Afterall, members of the public are predisposed to believe most things doctors say, even when such things  conflict with the views of a higher authority such as the World Health Organization. 

    Towards a possible vaccine

    Though Dr. Stella might have raised hopes for many, most health practitioners understand that vaccines normally take years, if not decades, to develop. However, the evolution of the coronavirus vaccine suggested the possibility of a miracle.  Afterall, the first human trial data, back in May, revealed that the first eight patients participating in the antibodies study gave hope that  the virus neutralized. 

    Also, trials of the vaccine developed by Oxford University have cheeringly shown it can trigger an immune response, just as the example from China, where scientists offered the Chinese military a vaccine considered safe, but the icing on the cake may well be the narrative shift from Russia where the claim of a breakthrough in vaccine development well beyond human trials was recently announced.

    Are the Russians on the verge of a eureka?

    The recent announcement by a Russian university of the successful completion of clinical trials of the world’s first vaccine against the coronavirus on humans adds a new twist to the vaccine development race, yet what is even more notable is the declaration that Russia had delivered its Avifavir medication against COVID-19 to 15 countries already.

    The hope now is that Avifavir, which had received a registration certificate from the Russian Ministry of Health in late May as the world’s novel cure for the treatment of COVID-19, will hopefully bring the ferocious COVID related-infodemics to a stop and to the delight of fact-checkers.  However, hardly had the world settled into a relief that the curious revelation from the Russians that the same vaccine would again undergo “large-scale phase three trials this month!” and be ready for distribution on a mass scale in October.  

    If the vaccine for the coronavirus is developed, will people take it? 

    Vaccine hesitancy has always been a major challenge. In some parts of Africa, people are very agnostic to the acceptance of vaccines and for African-Americans the bitter lessons of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment (a project that deliberately used black men in Alabama as specimens) remain vivid and haunting. According to this poll, many Americans will not want the vaccine. Results show only half to three-quarters intend to get the vaccine if one becomes available. Another poll conducted by Dubawa on 55 random respondents in Nigeria, revealed that 54.5% which is 30 out of the entire 55 respondents are prepared to take the Coronavirus vaccine when available, while 45.5%, [25 out of the 55 respondents] would not take part in such vaccination.  Majority of the respondents who said NO reason that,  “ITS A CONSPIRACY TO DOMINATE THE MASSES.”

    Forms response chart. Question title: Will you take COVID-19 vaccine?. Number of responses: 55 responses.
    Forms response chart. Question title: IF NO, WHY?. Number of responses: 29 responses.

    Though these findings are not universal and general, they reveal a new spectrum  of concerns for public health officials to worry about, in view of the scale of rejection of a vaccine. Consequently, just as efforts are geared towards a vaccine, educating people on why it’s crucial should also be prioritized. As for fact-checkers, however, it may just be the dawn of a new flood of misinformation, and it is only wise if they start building an ark to contain all the wild. 

    Fact checks of the week

    An online news medium “Ecocitynews” on August 2, 2020 published a story in which a Boko Haram insurgent, Abdulwahab Usman, was reported to have confessed to killing…

    While responding to a tweet by the Board Chairman of the Nigerian Postal Services (NIPOST), Maimuna Abubakar who alleged that the Federal Internal Revenue Service (FIRS) had stolen NIPOST’s mandate, a Twitter User has…

    The Katsina State governor, Aminu Masari, recently claimed that enemies of the All Progressives Party (APC), the ruling party in Nigeria, are sponsoring Boko Haram terror attacks in Northern Nigeria so that they could be…

    Coronavirus Q & A

    When are international flights resuming?

    Recall that Nigeria had put a hold on movements into and outside of the country due to the prevalence of the new coronavirus, consequently, a ban was placed on domestic and international flights. But with the ease of lockdown, the ban on domestic flights was lifted but for  international flights, resumption is still in view. 

    Channels Television has it that, “In a briefing on Thursday by the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19, the PTF National Coordinator, Sani Aliyu, said approvals have been given for aviation authorities to commence the process for the resumption of international flights.”

    What is the Update on Vaccines?

    Although the New York Times  Coronavirus Vaccine Tracker has it that vaccines will be ready by next year, Dr Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is hopeful of a vaccine by the end of 2020.

    • Is Hydroxychloroquine effective against COVID-19?

    Although this has earlier been fact-checked by Dubawa as seen here and here (both rated FALSE!). Recently when a Houston Doctor came out to testify the drug’s potency, we checked again and the verdict remains False. At the moment, there is no cure for the new coronavirus yet, also, experts have debunked the news that portrayed Hydroxychloroquine effective against COVID-19.

    What can you do? 

    Be alert, share our tips and don’t share false news! 

    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 

    Vaccine: Promote facts not made-up stories

    #FakeNews Alert 

    VACANCY: ECOWAS is recruiting – SOURCE: WhatsApp Message

    As evident in this check, Dubawa had recently researched a similar claim about an alleged job opening in the World Health Organization. It turned out false. Beware of viral messages about job vacancies to avoid being scammed. 

    Aisha Buhari Flown To Dubai For Medical Treatment – SOURCE: OnlineBlog (TheDrumOnline)

    Be careful what you believe on news sites. Receive every information with an open mind. Do not be in a haste to share, check and double-check before passing on to others.

    Schools Reopening: COVID-19 Test Certificate Compulsory As Excitement, Anxiety Trails Resumption – SOURCE: OnlineBlog (TheCityPulse)

    Questions to ask yourself: Who is your source? Has this information been published on credible platforms?

    Sex toy shop assault: Court dismisses suit against Elisha Abbo – SOURCE: OnlineBlog – (NewMail)

    Do not hesitate to verify from credible sources before sharing. 

    Other Fact-checks 

  • 10 Tips for Identifying Fake News

    COVID-19 is here, and it’s currently the biggest deal. The disease caused by the new coronavirus (SARSCOV-2) has cast a dark shadow over the world, causing panic, infections and death around the globe. The whole world is in fear as there is no known cure for the virus. Consequently, many countries of the world are on lockdown, taking preventive measures as provided by the World Health Organization – WHO.

    Also, it seems the accompanying misinformation owing to the pandemic is just as deadly. These falsehoods range from inaccurate facts about cures and the pandemic spreadthose who are infected and others. As a result, fear and panic abound! The situation is indeed dire as we all need our wits about us to get through this. 

    So, while health practitioners race to find a cure, fact-checkers are locked in a game of “whack-a-mole”, judiciously dousing the fires of misinformation, purveyors lit. Our strategy also includes partnerships amongst other things; enter tech giants such as Facebook and Google, even Twitter, all lending a hand to stop this infodermic.  

    Speaking of Facebook, here are the platform’s ten tips on identifying fake news: 

    Be sceptical of headlines 

    Firstly, check your headlines; these are the giveaway. Misleading content often has catchy headlines in all caps with exclamation points. If shocking claims in the headline sound unbelievable, they probably are. Social media has made it very easy and comfortable for people to access news contents. With this ease, has come the risk of being played; being exposed to fake news because many people tend to read headlines and leave the body texts. This practice is not efficient as fake news perpetrators now use headlines to lure people to their site, misinform and disinform. (refer to this for better understanding)

    Look closely at the link

    A phoney or look-alike link may be a warning sign of false news. Many malicious news sites mimic authentic news sources by making small changes to the URL. You can go to the website to compare the link to established sources.

    Investigate the source

    Scrutinise the byline. Is the author a reliable reference you trust with a reputation for accuracy? If the story comes from an unfamiliar organization, check their “About” section to learn more. (you might also want to read this)

    Watch for unusual formatting

    Many false news sites have misspellings or strange layouts. Ensure you read with caution if you see these signs. (see how dubawa debunked this claim)

    Consider the photos 

    False news stories often contain manipulated images or videos. Sometimes the picture may be authentic but taken out of context. You can search for the photo or image to ascertain its origin.

    Inspect the dates 

    Additionally, false content may contain timelines that make no sense or altered event dates.

    Check the evidence 

    Also, check the author’s sources to confirm that they are accurate. Lack of evidence or reliance on unnamed experts may indicate a false news story.

    Look at other reports

    If no other news source is reporting the same story, it may indicate that the story is false. If multiple credible sources corroborate the account, then it’s likely true. 

    Is the story a joke? 

    Furthermore, sometimes, false news stories can be hard to distinguish from humour or satire. Check whether the source is a parody account; also examine the story’s details as its tone might suggest it to be just for fun.

    Some stories are intentionally false 

    Think critically about the stories you read, and only share the news that you know to be credible. This rationale holds and is especially pertinent given the disinformative nature of some reports such as this

    This article is an edited version written by Facebook, here.

  • Dealing with a Wave of Fake Social Media Accounts

    The Ministry of Information last week launched a platform for reporting suspicious government social media accounts in the country in a bid to address the growing concerns regarding fake accounts. The government had earlier cautioned the public against fake social media accounts used to dupe the public.

    The wave of fake social media accounts is not limited to Ghana. As of September last year, a total of 3877 fake accounts were detected with 78% deleted by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission. 

    The biggest social network worldwide, Facebook, removed 1.7 billion fake accounts in the third quarter of 2019 (July-September). This figure represents more than half the 2.45 billion monthly active users recorded by the company in the same period. However, Facebook detected and removed a vast majority- 99.7 per cent- of the accounts minutes after registration. This was timely as they hadn’t become part of the company’s worldwide monthly active users (MAU).

    Facebook estimates that fake accounts represented approximately 5% of its MAU on Facebook during the second and third quarters of 2019 although some believe it could be around 20%.

    Other social media networks, such as Twitter, which as of the fourth quarter of 2018 had 321 million monthly active users, have also tried to wage their own wars against fake accounts. In May and June 2018, Twitter suspended over 70 million suspicious and fake accounts

    Why Should We Care?

    The existence of fake social media accounts should be a concern for all because of the threat they pose to society and in extension democracy.

    Inauthentic social media accounts have the ability to form rhetorics and influence public discourse through the spread of propaganda. Recall, during the 2016 United States elections, Russian agents employed fake accounts to spread anti-Clinton messages and to promote misinformation.

    Fake accounts are also notorious for ripping targets off financially. Hopeless romantics are also fair game for fake accounts users. The prevalence of this is so sad it’s been termed- catfishing. Job-seekers also fall victim to fake accounts which promise them lucrative jobs in return for ‘registration’ and ‘transaction fees’. Note DUBAWA’s experience in this fact-check.

    Additionally, perpetrators use fake accounts to boost follower numbers; numbers which are useful for online influencers who are paid for generating publicity for products and services.

    But how can you tell if an account is fake? Here are a few tips to guide you:
    • Fake accounts usually have few posts or updates
    • An account may be fake if it has many updates but rarely engages with other followers or friends
    • Fake accounts often solely promote a particular agenda, service or product
    • A Twitter account which follows an unusually high number of accounts may be fake.
    • You can also use tools such as TwitterAudit and Account Analysis to identify inauthentic accounts on Twitter.
    To protect yourself from the threat of fake accounts, always…
    • Check for the verification indicator if an account claims to belong to a high profile user, a reputable and well-known business or organisation. 
    • Check the official website for more information
    • Contact the person or organisation separately using contact details obtained from a source other than the suspicious account to verify a message or information from a suspicious account
    • Always be sceptical when you receive a message from a strange or unknown accounts
    • And report every suspicious account you come across

    For more on identifying fake Twitter accounts, read this article by Poynter.

  • How Kemi Adeosun’s NYSC Certificate Forgery Has Triggered #Fakenews

    It’s been 11 days since Premium Times broke the news that Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun, did not participate in the mandatory one-year national youth service scheme.

    Since then, the internet has been filled with false information and speculations as to the veracity of that claim.

    Last week, a badly photoshopped image was trending. The image showed Kemi Adeosun dressed as a National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) member with an accompanying message allegedly from Mrs. Adeosun: “@Wailers! Will you keep quiet! I did my NYSC.” We have long verified that the image is fake.

    Since yesterday, a fake news report purporting that the Minister was unaware her NYSC exemption certificate was forged is currently being circulated on the internet.

    Our checks reveal that the article, headlined: ‘I don’t know my NYSC exemption certificate was forged. Someone did it for me’ was published yesterday on Newsfield Magazine, a Facebook platform.

    Without providing a verifiable context or timeline for Mrs. Adeosun’s alleged rebuttal, the report narrates that the Minister did not apply for exemption from the NYSC herself and had no prior knowledge that the certificate issued by her agent was fake.
    It quotes the Minister thus: “I was born in London and also had all my education there. I graduated at 22 and started working immediately. When I returned to Nigeria in 19XX, I knew about the national labour law requirements, including NYSC participation or exemption, but didn’t know how to go about it.

    “I relied on 3rd parties to assist and it looks like they took inappropriate steps. I am shocked and equally embarrassed to learn about this. I should have checked before now and I accept the blame for their wrongdoing because they acted on my behalf.

    “I accept full responsibility for this incident and regret that it even happened in the first place. I am prepared to do whatever that is required to redeem these grave errors.

    “I regret any inconvenience that this may have caused the government which I currently serve and the good people of Nigeria.”

    We reached out to the Newsfield Magazine Publisher, Mr. Finian Chuks, who cited the blog Hope for Nigeria as his primary news source. We were unable to find any such article on the Hope for Nigeria website, but a variant of the fake report headlined ‘I am very sorry for the forged certificate – Kemi Adeosun’ was posted on its Facebook page with an accompanying photo-shopped image of the Minister in NYSC gear. The fake news has also been republished without a byline on NGhubs.com, a news portal without a physical contact address at our last check.

    Meanwhile, Premium Times has debunked the news story. It said over a week following the expose, the Finance Minister and the Federal Government have yet to respond to the allegations.

Back to top button