President Muhammadu Buhari

  • How #Twitterban, Koo emergence allow Nigerians to explore tech space

    Irked by the wanton destruction, killing and attacks on security operatives in the southeast and south-south regions of the country, the president, a former military Head of State and self-styled democrat had threatened to treat some aggressive secessionists “in the language they understand.”

    Buhari’s statement came amid mounting security threats across the country climaxed by the abduction of some students in both government colleges and university in Niger, Kaduna and Zamfara by bandits.

    Controversial as it was widely understood, the statement was trailed by a whirlpool of reactions, with a number of social media users on Twitter calling on Jack Dorsey, the CEO and founder of the platform to give the “Buhari a Donald Trump treatment.” 

    Trump, a former US president, was suspended by Twitter after his tweet led to the attack on the Capitol amid grand delusions to overturn the victory of his predecessor Joe Biden in the November 3, 2020 election.

    NBC sanction

    In a subsequent move, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) ordered all the broadcast media in the country to suspend the use of Twitter “with immediate effect.”

    This was contained in a statement issued by its former director general, Armstrong Idachaba, on Monday, July 7.

    Garba Shehu, a presidential aide, in a statement said “the removal of President Buhari’s tweet was disappointing.” He also claimed Twitter was not banned but temporarily suspended, citing that it is a place where “misinformation” trends, among other reasons.

    However, in a fierce defiance, Nigerians have continued to be using Twitter albeit with Virtual Private Network (VPN), a connection that extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks.

    Enters Koo app

    One of the reasons Twitter was banned — or “temporarily suspended” was because as the Minister of Communication and Culture, Lai Mohammed said, it wascapable of undermining the corporate existence of Nigeria.”

    In a bid to cut down the intimidating influence of Twitter, Koo, an Indian micro-blogging app, was endorsed by the Nigerian presidency, with President Buhari leading the cart of his followers to the app.

    Koo app itself is a product of revolt. It is borne out of Indian government’s desire to sumerge Twitter in the populous country after the platform was suspended in what appears to be a long deadlock emerging from clash of interest.

           Screenshot of president Buhari’s profile on Koo. Credit: Koo app
               Official account of the Nigerian government on Koo. Credit Koo app.

    The Nigerian government’s endorsement of Koo, without any iota of doubt, represents a significant push in the app’s journey to position itself as a genuine challenger to Twitter in the country.

    This is because hundreds of Nigerians, mostly Buhari’s supporters, have joined the Koo app in solidarity with the presidency’s position on the Twitter ban.

    On the other side of the trenches, social media influencers whose work were affected by the ban have refused to join the platform, describing it as an attempt to gag “free speech” and strengthen the government’s vocal desire to bring social media under control.

    Bashir Ahmad, media aide to the president on social media joins Koo. Credit: Koo app.

     Koo a blessing in disguise? 

    Although Koo may find it difficult to outmuscle Twitter on the Nigerian internet space, its presence has provided the country’s social media users with a viable alternative of communication and expression of free speech.

    Twitter, over the time, has been the biggest platform that provides a voice for Nigerians who often checkmate the excess of the government.

    With over 40 million active users, the platform not only provides jobs for Nigerians as social media managers and influencers, but also generates revenue into the purse of the government.

    According to netblocks, a data-driven web application that allows people to rapidly evaluate the economic cost of Internet outages, Nigeria has been losing money daily over Twitter ban.

    Between June 5 and 25 the government suspended Twitter operations, the country, according to netblock, has lost over $150m (approximately N54 billion). 

    Data showing Nigeria’s loss since Twitter was banned by the government. Credit: Netblocks.

    Economically, this means if Nigeria can have a concentrated number of active social media users on Koo, more revenue will be generated into the country’s purse..

    Of the technological benefits, Twitter ban and the presence of Koo has revitalised Nigeria’s possibility of developing and exploring home-grown social media platforms that are basically Nigerian and capable of challenging the monopoly and hegemony of US-owned social media tech giants.

    In India, Koo came in as a tool of revolt. It was initially fashioned in a user-friendly mode with an  interactive interface to “deal with Twitter excess.” Now, it is a strong competitor, technically performing the same role. By the time the Indian government removes the ban on Twitter, its influence may have whittled down.

    India is the second most populous country in the world after China; Nigeria is the most populous in Africa. So there is a striking similarity between the two nations in terms of numerical strength. If Nigeria can use the avenue of the Twitter ban to create a home-grown alternative, it is going to be a step in the right direction for the country in terms of technological advancement.

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

  • A close look at claims Buhari made in Democracy Day speech

    On June 12, 2021, Nigeria celebrated its democracy day amid protests across states demanding better governance. The president addressed Nigerians in a 23-minute video.

    Several claims emanating from the president’s speech have been called into question by Nigerians. In the light of this, we took a look at some of them.

    Claim one: 10.5 million people have been lifted out of poverty in the last two years.

    “In the last two years, we lifted 10.5 million people out of poverty – farmers, small-scale traders, artisans, market women and the like.”

    Excerpt of Buhari’s comment on poverty.

    Looking at the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2019 poverty data (from September 2018 to October 2019) released in 2020, Dubawa observeed that  40.1 per cent of the total population were classified as poor meaning on average, 4 out of 10 individuals in Nigeria have real per capita expenditures below 137,430 Naira per year. This translates to over 82.9 million poor Nigerians. NBS however noted this data excludes Borno State

    Screenshot of NBS poverty data for 2019.

    Although data could not be found for 2017/2018 to compare the difference (the last NBS data before 2018/2019 was 2009/2010) the increasing number of poor persons in the country between 2018 and 2019 contradicts the president claim, making it false.

    Claim two: GDP growth was recorded in the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021.

    “Though marginal we have recorded GDP growth over two quarters; Q2 2020 and Q1 2021. This is evidence of successful execution of the ESP by the Federal Government.”

    Excerpt of the president’s comment on GDP.

    A look at the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) data for Gross Domestic Product (GDP) 2020 and 2021, Dubawa noted that the second and third quarter of 2020 experienced a negative downturn of -6.10% and – 3.62 respectively while the first and fourth quarter experienced positive growth in 2020 with 1.87% and 0.11% respectively.

    Screenshot of NBS GDP quarterly data for 2020.

    For the first quarter of 2021, GDP growth was positive at 0.51%.

    Screenshot of NBS GDP data for the first quarter of 2021.

    A look at these quarterly reports shows the president’s claim is not completely true. While it is false there was growth in the second quarter of 2020, it is true the first quarter of 2021 grew by 0.51%.

    Claim three: Nigeria has a National Social Register of poor and vulnerable households 

    “We now have a National Social register of poor and vulnerable households, identified across 708 local government areas, 8,723 wards and 86,610 communities in the 36 States and the FCT”

    Excerpt of Buhari’s comment on the social register.

    Dubawa found that this claim is true although the data available does not give details of local governments and communities, there currently exists a National Social register on the National Social Safety-Net Coordinating Office’s (NASSCO) site.

    NASSCO was established in 2016 by the Government of Nigeria in partnership with the World Bank to lay a strong foundation of rigorous and reliable evidence of poor and vulnerable households in Nigeria, by building a National Social Register (NSR), as well as coordinate, refine and integrate the social safety-net programs into social protection systems while ensuring policy coherence.

    The National Social Register of Poor and Vulnerable Households (PVHHs) found is distributed by states, households and individuals as of April 27, 2020. This register is a repository of information about potential beneficiaries for multiple social assistance programs.

    Screenshot of NSR on NASSCO’s website.

    According to NASSCO, this register was built using four targeting approaches. These approaches are; Geographic, Community Ranking, Community Based Targeting (CBT), and Proxy Mean Testing (PMT).

    Conclusion

    The above claims by the president are a combination of true False and misleading. While some claims turned out to be true, others mixed up data and some were completely false.

  • Misleading headline leads readers to believe President Buhari is dead

    Claim: A news headline outlines that “JUST IN: Buhari Shot Dead By Gunmen In Edo” 

    The claim

    The headline is misleading. The Buhari in question was not the president but a driver with Hart land Construction Company. 

    Full Text

    Headlines are crucial in telling a news story. Misleading headlines and sometimes half-truth carved captions have misinformed and even misdirect people’s sense of reality. 

    Even notably, a recent headline reads, JUST IN: Buhari shot dead by gunmen in Edo”. It was first shared on PM NEWS and reappeared on ther platforms carrying the same headline. 

    As expected, the headline drew serious attention from the public who thought the story was referenced to the President, Muhammadu Buhari. 

    On Facebook, the post attracted multiple comments. A user, Nasiru Mohammed, wrote, “God forbid, death at your door but not our president”. Several other users questioned, “which of the ‘Buhari?” 

    Another user, James Kamar remarked that “Oh my God, this is a bad way for the president to die. May his soul rest in peace.”

    As reshared on Facebook

    The actual Narrative, not the headline

    While the headline did amass traction, the narrative was nothing more than a usual news story. 

    The Buhari in question was a driver with Hartland Construction Company. Simply identified as ‘Buhari’, he was reported to have  been shot dead in Benin, the Edo state capital, by Unknown gunmen believed to be kidnappers.

    According to PMNews, two police operatives on guard duty were also shot at by the gunmen, before kidnapping an expatriate worker. 

    Although the event took place, the president’s name in the headline gave the story rather unusual attention. While some users took time to read the actual narrative others took it as it was; the president is dead!!!

    Conclusion

    Headlines tell what a story is about. Nonetheless, in this case, the headline is rather misleading as the Buhari in question is not the President but a driver. 

  • Festus Keyamo did not author viral ‘MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS’ Message

    Ganiyat Tijani-Adenle

    Claim: A viral WhatsApp message titled ‘FESTUS KEYAMO DROPS THE MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS – Who are you calling dictator?’ names Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, the author of a critical message seeking to launder the image of the country’s president.

    This message is misleading. Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo is not the author of the message.

    Full Text

    The battle of wits between the supporters of incumbent Nigerian president, Muhammadu Buhari, and his antagonists is one that goes on daily on social media. Nigerian citizens in the country as well as those in diaspora spare no efforts in proving their cases for or against the President. In this particular instance, pro-Buhari author(s) sought to give their claims credibility and thus labelled it as crucial information by the country’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo. The message has been shared several times on WhatsApp.

    Mr. Festus Keyamo, a lawyer, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, social commentator, critic, human rights activist and columnist is a supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and a member of his cabinet. He was also the Head of Communications for his presidential campaign team. 

    Screenshot of the beginning of the WhatsApp message

    The Minister of State for Labour and Employment’s name was also signed at the end of the message.

    Screenshot of the end of the WhatsApp message

    Verification

    Dubawa read the 30 paragraph-long message which sought to highlight alleged deficiencies of immediate past presidents Goodluck Jonathan and Olusegun Obasanjo, who are both members of the opposition party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). 

    Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan was in power for five years (2010 to 2015) while former President Olusegun Obasanjo ruled as a civilian president for two terms (May 29, 1999 to May 29, 2007). That is apart from his time as a military ruler from 1976 to 1979. The viral message however only cited alleged abuses of power during Ex-President Obasanjo’s civilian administration.

    The message also cites many supposed virtues of President Muhammadu Buhari (and his administration) as well as extolled the competence of his appointed officers.

    Dubawa sent a text message to Mr. Festus Keyamo on June 16, 2021 to confirm if he was the author of the message and the Minister replied that while he shared some of the views in the message, he did not author it.

    Mr. keyamo said the message “had been circulating since 2018 during the campaigns” of the election that won President Muhammadu Buhari his second term in office, and that the contents of the WhatsApp message are “a sprinkling of a lot of things” he said as the “Director of Communications during the campaigns”.

    Mr. Keyamo also noted that the author(s) of the message actually “pieced them together and added a bit of some other things” which he had not said. He therefore confirmed that the viral message in its current form is not from him.

    Conclusion

    Nigeria’s Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Mr. Festus Keyamo is not the author of the viral WhatsApp message titled ‘FESTUS KEYAMO DROPS THE MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS – Who are you calling dictator?’

    Individuals who wish to share ideas and have them resonate with people have been known to write the names of celebrities, specialists, authority figures and prominent institutions as the sources (of such messages) in order to gain credibility and achieve their communication goals.

  • Koo: What you should know about Twitter’s rival app

    Barely a week after Nigeria’s Government placed an indefinite suspension on the operation of microblogging site, Twitter, the federal government made its debut on an Indian-based social media platform, Koo, which was barely known to many in Nigeria. 

    With the announcement of the government’s arrival on the made-in-Indian app by its co-founder and CEO Aprameya Radhakrishna, the yellow bird app is gaining traction among some Nigerians as they seek another source of keeping abreast with information hitherto filled by Twitter. 

    Announcing the Nigerian government’s arrival, Radhakrishna with the Koo handle (@aprameya) posted an official handle of the Nigerian government with a smiling emoji sign. “The official handle of the government of Nigeria is now on Koo,” he posted.

    Screen grab of Koo co-founder, Aprameya Radhakrishna (@aprameya) announcing the Nigerian government’s arrival on the platform

    What is Koo App? 

    Koo is a micro-blogging platform which was developed by Aprameya Radhakrishna and Mayank Bidawatka in March 2020 but was floated in May of the same year. The app won the Aatmanirbhar App Challenge organized by the Indian government in August 2020. It has a similar interface with Twitter and its rise is hinged on the stormy path Twitter took with government authorities in India and most recently in Nigeria.

    Like Twitter, Koo can be used to profess views and opinions on various topics as well as allow users to follow other users, conduct polls, share photos, audio and video with a Direct Message (DM) to facilitate chat with each other. It also allows users to place their posts with hashtags and the @ sign also comes before a username, to mention or reply to other users. Koo uses a yellow and white interface and like the blue-bird app, a verified account is given a yellow tick to indicate its authenticity.

    A check on Google Play Store shows it has been downloaded over 5 million times. Apart from English, the application features some local languages spoken in India such as, Bengali, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil and Telugu. However, the co-founder and CEO, Aprameya wrote on the microblogging app that: “Koo is available in Nieria. We’re thinking of enabling the local languages there too. What say?”

    A screen grab showing the app has been downloaded over 5 million times on Google Play Store 

    How it rose to prominence

    In an interview with Financial Express online, the co-founders of the microblogging app said they initiated the app to give a voice to everybody in India and chose the yellow bird to symbolise a happy bird spreading good messages among the community in India. 

    The rise of Koo is however credited to not only its winning of the Indian government’s Atma Nirbhar App Innovation Challenge but a row between Twitter and the Government of India in which a show of supremacy led to government officials dumping twitter for the new app. Since then, Koo has seen a surge in usage. Its fortunes also increased following another standoff between Twitter and the Nigeria government with the later suspending access to the microblog in the country on June 5, 2021. Koo’s similarity with Twitter has made netizens in Nigeria crave for a platform to garner information on-the-go switch alliance. “The Nigerian government’s decision to join Koo after banning Twitter reinforces its position as an alternative platform to Twitter,” says Pranav Mukul, an Indian journalist with the Indian Express. With its newfound fame, Koo announced a $30 million fundraise from marquee investors including Tiger Global at a time Indian authorities were turning the heat on Twitter. The fund-raise saw Koo’s valuation jump nearly five-fold to $100 million.

    Who is on the Koo app?

    Since the Nigerian government joined the app with a verified handle @nigeriagov, other Nigerians including President Muhammadu Buhari with a verified handle (@muhammadubuhari) and his Personal Assistant on Digital and New Media, Bashir Ahmad have joined. A Koo handle claiming to be that of the First Lady Aisha Buhari (@A_Buhrari) has equally suffaced. Activist and former Senator representing Kaduna Central, Shehu Sani (@Sen.shehuSani) have been active on the platform as well as Kanywood celebrities such as Hadiza Gabon (@Hadiza_Aliyu) and Rahama Sadau (@Rahama).

    A verified Koo handle of President Muhammadu Buhari (@muhammadubuhari)

    Will the new app solve FG’s headache?

    The Nigerian Government had accused Twitter for churning out fake news and hate speech on its platform with the site not taking any action. In response to the platform deleting President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet, the Nigerian Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had accused Twitter of double standards and allowing it to be used to undermine the country’s corporate existence. With the recent migration of the Nigerian government to Koo, it is uncertain if the government can still checkmate fake news and hate speech in the new platform. However, when asked about fake news the co-founders said: “This is one of those topics that falls in the grey area. A lot of policies are yet to be put in place as far as social media is concerned. Because unlike publishers, this is not curated content. If this was a simple question, we won’t be discussing it. We would have answers for it. The global platform would have had answers for it. We are dealing with social media, which means we are dealing with a space where people have the freedom to express themselves and there will be unscrupulous elements which will plug in some sort of fake news on a platform waiting for it to explode.”

    They were optimistic that it can be tackled by service providers going to the source of the news and trying to figure out where it came from. Commenting on hate that has become the bane of the World Wide Web, they said that since the company is registered and bound by law, it will ensure a healthy conversation, and that is what the app stands for.

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

  • Fake tweet paints Twitter apologetic to Nigerian Government

    Claim: A viral Twitter screenshot with the inscription of the “Twitter Public Policy” claims Twitter is apologetic for the recent action it took against President Buhari’s tweet. 

    The claim

    The viral screenshot of a tweet alleged to have been tweeted by ‘Twitter Public Policy’ is false. The screenshot of the tweet and others alike were created using an online tool. 

    Full Text

    It’s no more news that the Nigerian government has banned Twitter operations in the country. While this decision taken by the government was not least expected, the action seems to have aroused diverse debates from members of the public.

    After the EndSARS protest in  the last quarter of 2020, the Nigerian government accused Twitter of arousing tension in the country–launching what appeared to be a subtle feud between Twitter and the Nigerian government. 

    The climax of the situation unfolded when twitter deleted  President Buhari’s recent Tweet in what they described as a bridge to their policy. However, days after Twitter’s action on the president, the Nigerian Government banned Twitter operations in  Nigeria in what many saw as Buhari’s response to Twitter’s action. 

    President Buhari’s deleted tweet by Twitter

    In response to the now popular topic in the Nigerian Public sphere, Twitter, shared on its ‘public policy’ handle its concerns over ‘open internet’ in Nigeria; apparently standing by its actions with no apologies directed to the Nigerian government.

    The recent Tweet by ‘Twitter Public Policy’ 

    Nonetheless, a viral screenshot of a tweet bearing the inscription of the ‘Twitter Public Policy’ handle, appeared online with a rather new narrative that seems to suggest Twitter’s desire to apologise and mend things with the Nigerian Government.  

    The acclaimed tweet by ‘Twitter Public Policy’ 

    With no date stamps, the acclaimed tweet appeared June 5th, 2021 widely shared on WhatsApp and across different social media platforms.  Some users who came across the alleged tweet, expressed disbelief and stressed that Twitter ‘will not’ share such a tweet, while others felt it was Twitter’s way of making amends with the Nigerian Government. On Nairaland, a popular interactive site in Nigeria with over 3 million active users, the alleged tweet was shared alongside the narrative “Twitter bows to Nigerian Government”.

    Whatever the case may be, confirming the originality and validity of such a tweet is vital, especially at a time when most Nigerians are trying to wrap their hands around the novel action taken by the government. 

    Verification 

    DUBAWA first launched a timeline search on all the recent posts made by the ‘Twitter Public Policy’ handle. The alleged tweet, circulating as a screenshot, was not found anywhere on the Twitter Public Policy handle. This finding,  however, led DUBAWA to uncover an online tool that allows users to create fake screenshots while posing as anyone they deem fit. 

    The Tweet Generator

    ‘The Tweet generator’ is a website based application that allows online users to create fake tweets. The application can be used to create a tweet template of choice, with a date of choice and all other things that a real tweet embodies. This same tool was also used to purport  a fake narrative referenced to Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook.

    Fake Tweet created on ‘Tweet Generator’ posing as Mark Zuckerberg

    The tool gives an exact copy of an original Tweets making it hard for one to trace the difference. 
    An example of tweet created by DUBAWA on the tool

     Disclaimer: the above tweet is not real.

     It was only created  for the purpose of illustration and clarity. 

    Evenmore, other red flags uncovered by DUBAWA from the acclaimed tweet shows that it is entirely fake.

    The above texts show the disparity between the acclaimed tweet (2) and an original tweet (1) taken. While the original tweet has ‘@’ before policy the fake tweet missed that part entirely.  Originally generated tweets always come with the ‘@’ symbol attached to the username. 

    While the original tweet has a hand-like symbol in front of the #Keepiton, this is not so with the fake one. 

    Dubawa also conducted image forensics of the fake tweet in comparison to the real one taken from ‘Twitter Public Policy’ page. We conducted an error level analysis on the two images,  checking the authenticity of opacity (0.95), error scale (94), JPEG Quality (94) on the same scale. 

    Image 1

    Image 1: Results from forensics conducted on the original image. The outcome is a glittering ray of colors emerging from the text. 

    Image 2

    Image 2: forensic results from the fake tweet. Aside from the 3 glittering parts of the image, the main text is entirely black and white. 

    Conclusion

    The tweet under scrutiny is confirmed to be fake. It was not from Twitter nor was it ever tweeted. The manipulation of twitter screen shots is now a common phenomenon used to mislead unsuspecting members of the public. This claim is false. 

  • Twitter Not Responsible for Tweet Claiming Company Doesn’t Recognise Buhari

    Claim: A tweet, which purportedly originated from the verified handle of Twitter, explains reasons for the deletion of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tweet.

    Findings show that the picture being circulated was created using basic photo manipulation tools; it is false and had not come from @Twitter. 

    Full story

    On June 1, 2021, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, received a briefing from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Mahmood Yakubu, at the Statehouse in Abuja.

    Yakubu had come to brief the president on a series of attacks on facilities of the electoral body across the country. 

    In reaction, President Buhari had said he will provide INEC with all it needs to carry out its duties and prepare ahead of the 2023 elections.

    In a Twitter thread after the briefing, the President, however, warned that ‘a rude shock’ awaits unpatriotic elements promoting insurrection and burning critical assets across the country.

    The president threatened to treat insurrectionists and those attacking facilities of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) like Nigerian soldiers treated the rebels during the civil war.

    Buhari, a retired general, fought during the war which claimed the lives of over one million persons.

    The last part of the thread attracted the outrage of many Nigerians who interpreted it to be a threat to a particular ethnic group.

    The tweet reads, “Many of those misbehaving today are too young to be aware of the destruction and loss of lives that occurred during the Nigerian Civil War. Those of us in the fields for 30 months, who went through the war, will treat them in the language they understand.”

    Screenshot of @MBuhari’s controversial tweet.

    Many Nigerians reported the Twitter account of the President seeking a ban on the account, however, Twitter deleted the controversial post by the President, rather than ban his account.

    Screenshot of a tweet calling for a ban on the President’s account.

    A comment by Twitter stated, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules”.

    This action by the social media giant did not go down well with some government officials, especially the Minister of Information and Culture, who condemned Twitter’s action in a press conference.

    A photo, which had now gone viral on social media especially the popular messaging app, WhatsApp, featured Twitter’s verified handle explaining the rules President Buhari had contravened which caused the deletion of the tweet.

    The tweet which had purportedly come from Twitter read, “Dear @MBuhari We have no idea who you are or what country you are leading, we have come across a tweet that violates our rule number 4 of “safety and freedom” and removed it.”

    A screenshot of the manipulated photo containing a purported tweet from @Twitter.

    Verification

    Dubawa started by checking the official handle of Twitter (@Twitter) to see if it posted any tweet such as this, but found nothing of such.

    From searches made, @Twitter’s last tweet was on May 28 while the circulating tweet was dated June 4, 2021.

    A screenshot of the last tweet by @Twitter made on 28th May 2021 from Sprinklr.

    Also, the purported tweet was posted with Twitter for Android but checks from Dubawa have revealed that @Twitter uses Sprinklr or Twitter Web App to make posts.

    Screenshot of another tweet by @Twitter on 27th May made from Sprinklr.
    Screenshot of a tweet by @Twitter made from Twitter Web App.

    Also, Twitter had not independently made any comment on its verified handle regarding the deletion of the President’s tweet on its verified handle ever since the incident.

    Further checks by Dubawa showed that President Muhammadu Buhari is officially recognised as Nigeria’s President as stated on his bio in the verified handle. As of Sunday, the President’s account is active with 4.1 million followers.

    A screenshot of Buhari’s Twitter account with over 4 million followers. 

    Dubawa further made use of Forensically, a tool for digital image forensics, which confirmed that the picture had been created by some photo manipulation tricks. 

    A screenshot of the quantized image of the photo which showed that the Twitter logo had been cropped into the image.

    Another form of the image using Forensically’s level sweep tool shows the parts of the image that were introduced when copy pasting the content.
    A screenshot of the same image uses Forensically’s Clone detection tool. The red line and blue dots show that the image was created using either photoshop or some other photo manipulation tools.

    Conclusion

    Findings showed that the picture being circulated as a tweet from the verified handle of Twitter is false. The picture was manipulated.

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

  • False, President Buhari has not ordered Pantami’s sack

    Claim: A video uploaded on YouTube claims that Dr. Isa Pantami, the minister of communications has been sacked by President Buhari.

    The claim that Dr. Isa Pantami, the minister of communications, has been sacked by President Buhari is false. The claim is a case of misleading headline with baseless content. Currently, both the president’s and Pantami’s aides have discredited the claim as false. 

    The claim

    Full text

    A video on YouTube shared on April 20th, 2021  claims that Dr. Isa Pantami, the minister of communication, has been sacked by President Buhari.

    Dr. Pantami, who has been under fire over acclaimed extremist comments he has made in the past, has also been the subject of discussion in recent times. As some call for his resignation, others are of the contrary opinion. 

    It is in line with these ongoing happenings that a video, shared by a YouTube channel (Independent TV 7) purports that the minister has been sacked by president Buhari. 

    The video has attracted over 290 views within 48 hours of its appearance. This may in part be because of the dashing headline that was tagged to the video: “Breaking News!! BUHARI Order The Sack Of Isa PANTAMI And Been Kicked Out…”

    Verification 

    First, DUBAWA uncovered that there was no news story anywhere online, particularly from credible media outlets, that relates to Pantami’s sack, aside from the claim.

    Furthermore, the narrative in the video turned out to be redundant, as nowhere was it stated in the eight-minutes video that the minister had been sacked. 

    The headline was merely a hooker that was neither mentioned in the video nor  clearly expressed or specified in the video. 

    When DUBAWA reached out to Ms. Uwa Suleiman, the spokesperson to the Minister of Communications, she clarified in a phone conversation that the claim is false. “This is not true, please disregard,” she said.

    In the same vein, the Special Assistant to the President, Garba Shehu, also confirmed that the claim is totally untrue. 

    This is not the first time DUBAWA has come across misleading headlines with unrelated content, such as in this case.

    Conclusion

    Though multiple controversies have been looming around the minister of communication and digital economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, President Mohammed Buhari has not sacked him. Therefore, the claim, as depicted in the headline of the Youtube video is false; it is a case of misleading headline and baseless content. 

  • Did Garba Shehu say killings in Benue will continue if Ortom fails to cooperate with Buhari?

    Claim: A news report by Weetalknaija claims Garba Shehu said the killings in Benue will continue until Ortom cooperates with Buhari.

    The headline of the news report is false and misleading. Our findings show this was just a sensational headline as the content of the story and the press release by Garba Shehu contradicts the headline.

    Full Text

    Benue State has been on the map for the killings of its citizens/residents, from the killing of one officer and 10 soldiers who were on stabilisation operation in the state to the killing of seven Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in a camp in Abagena, a Makurdi suburb on Monday, April 25, 2021.

    Reacting to these killings, governor Samuel Ortom said the unfortunate development could have been averted if the federal government was proactive, noting that over 70 persons were killed within two weeks in Makurdi, Gwer West and Guma Local Government Area (LGAs).

    “It is an unfortunate development what is happening, if the federal government had taken a proactive step, we will not be where we are. In the last two weeks, over 70 persons just in Makurdi local government area alone. It is not acceptable.”

    Excerpt of Ortom’s comment.

    He explained that he had alerted the nation when Fulanis from 14 countries met in Yola and declared that except Benue reviews the prohibition of open grazing law, it will not know peace. He added that he had written to the federal government to arrest the leaders of Miyetti Allah that hosted that meeting, but nothing was done.

    On the heels of this development, a report by Weetalknaija on Friday, April 30, 2021, claims President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the killing will continue if Ortom does not cooperate with Buhari.

    Screenshot of Weetalknaija’s report

    Verification

    Dubawa studied the report by Weetalknaija and also conducted a keyword search which led to other reports by different news platforms.

    Going through this report, which quoted Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu, as making this claim in its headline, Dubawa observed that this claim was not contained in the body of the news report. The body of the report  noted Mr Shehu called  on the Ortom government to cooperate with the Federal Government in implementing national strategies to end this issue. 

    “Benue under the Ortoim administration ought to cooperate with the Federal Government in the implementation of a number of national strategies programs in addressing underlying issues militating against peace, progress and development.”

    Excerpt of Weetalknaija’s report.

    Dubawa also compared this report by Weetalknaija with other news platforms. 

    A report by Premium Times based on the same statement by Garba Shehu gave a different narrative. This report noted that the president was disappointed with governor Ortom’s comment in reaction to these killings.

    Screenshot of Premium Times report.

    Another report by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) shares the same narrative of the president’s disappointment with the Premium Times report. 

    Screenshot of ICIR report

    Dubawa also obtained the press release these stories were based on and noted there was nowhere in the statement that reflected weetalknaija’s headline. The press release only called for the cooperation of the Ortom-led government. 

    Screenshot of Garba Shehu’s statement

    Conclusion

    The news report that claims Garba Shehu said the killings in Benue State will continue unless Ortom cooperates with Buhari is false and misleading. Our findings show this was just a sensational headline as the content of the story and the press release contradicts the headline.

  • Femi Adesina’s claim 30 million Nigerians were unemployed in 2015 false

    Claim: Femi Adesina claims 30million Nigerians were unemployed in 2015 before Buhari came into power.

    The claim is false. Available data shows 17.7 million were unemployed in the first quarter of 2015, not 30 million. 

    Full Text

    The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, claims 30million Nigerians were unemployed in 2015. Mr Adesina made this claim while featuring on Channel TV’s programme Sunday Politics on March 28, 2021.

    Verification

    Our verification started by viewing the 52 minutes 42 seconds clip on Channels Television Tv) YouTube page.

    Screenshot of the video on Channels Tv

    Mr Adesina said that in 2015, the unemployment figure used for campaign by the All Progressives Congress was 30 million. He said this while reacting to the question on the unemployment rate and his government’s promise to create jobs.

    “Buildup of the 2015 election, when APC was campaigning, the figure that was used by the then-candidate Buhari, was that a minimum of 30 million were out of jobs, were unemployed particularly youth and that his government was going to do something about that. As of 2014/2015 the figure used for the campaign was 30 million unemployed Nigerians, it’s on record.”

    Excerpt of Adesina’s statement 

    Dubawa conducted a keyword search on Nigeria’s unemployment rate in 2015 and this led to some reports.

    A report by Macrotrends shows a trend analysis of unemployment in Nigeria from 1991 to 2021. According to this, the unemployment rate for 2015 stood at 4.31%.

    Screenshot of Macrotrend graph and table.

    Data by Statista show in the first quarter of 2015, the unemployment rate in Nigeria stood at 7.54%, in the second quarter, 8.19%, in the third quarter, 9.9% and in the fourth quarter- 10.44% of the working-age population(age 15-64).

    The unemployment rate is calculated as a percentage of the number of unemployed persons in the labour force i.e. Unemployment Rate = 100 × Unemployed Population/ Labor Force Population

    Screenshot of Statista graph

    A report by ProShare showed that unemployment in the first quarter(Q1) of 2015 rose to 7.5%. According to ProShare, this means that 17.7 million people between ages 15‐65 were either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force.

    Screenshot of Proshare’s breakdown of the Economically active population.

    In Q1 2015, the labour force population increased to 73.4 million from 72.9million in Q4 2014, representing an increase in the labour force by 0.69%.    This means 504,596 economically active persons within 15‐64 entered the labour force.

    Within the same period, the total number in full employment increased by 0.88%, while the number of underemployed declined by 6.46% resulting in a reduction in the underemployment rate to 16.6% (12.2mn) from 17.9% (13.1mn) in Q4 2014.  

    The number of unemployed in the labour force, on the other hand, increased by 861,110 persons or 18.43% between Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 resulting in an increase in the unemployment rate to 7.5% in Q1 2015 from 6.4% in Q4 2015.  Accordingly, there were a total of 17.7 million people between ages 15‐65 either unemployed or underemployed in the labour force in Q1 2015.

    Screenshots of Proshare’s data breakdown.

    Dubawa tried finding unemployment statistics through the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) for the year 2015 but figures for that year were not accessible. The available data was from 2017- 2018.

    Screenshot of NBS data on unemployment from 2017-2018

    Conclusion

    Available statistics show in the first quarter of 2015 which was the last quarter before president Buhari came on board in May, 17.7 million Nigerians were unemployed with the unemployment rate at 7.5%. This makes the claim that 30 million Nigerians were unemployed to be false.

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