President Muhammadu Buhari

  • #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria’s president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    The #EndSARS protests in Nigeria will, beyond any skepticism, remain a  significant episode in the chronology of events in Nigeria.  However, what will even be more remembered is the eclectic discourses it has emitted and tons of controversies it has generated. One such controversy pertains to the death certificate in circulation on social media that is alleged to be President Buhari’s. 

    Threads of this claim have been largely shared amongst Twitter users; chiefly amongst them is MR. KEMS @alao-abiodunmr_kems4 who tweeted a death certificate containing President Buhari’s details. The certificate implied that President Buhari died in Abuja, due to a cardiac arrest on September 18, 2017, and was issued by the National Population Commission. The tweet piled up over 515 retweets, 30 quote comments, and over 548 reactions. #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    What seemed to have led to the claims was the long silence of the president over the recent Lekki toll gate shootings during the #EndSARS protest of some of the country’s youths. When the President would not  deliver a speech  24 hours after the Lekki  Gate shootings, social media became trendy with the tag #WhereisBuhari with some users asking for the whereabouts of the President and  demanding that he address  the nation via a live T.V.

    Ayemojubar @ayemojubar, tweeted “Is it a too much question to ask? #WhereIsBuhari #WhereIsBuhari #WhereIsBuhari #WhereIsBuhari #WhereIsBuhari Come out and talk to us LIVE and answer 2 or 3 questions from the media. Period!” Another user, Boss lady @BossS2o also tweeted that “He didn’t update its IG handle since May 2017 he left Nigeria and the next update was June 2018. #WhereIsBuhari #ENDBADGOVERNANCE #Itsnotfinished” 

    At this point I don’t know what to believe anymore loudly crying face I’m sure Buhari is not happy about what is going on wherever he is. Huncle Jib. has gone back to wherever he came from, living us in this mess he created and turned us all into a #MONSTER  the question is #WhereIsBuhari Aisha” Bertha @Bertha56897740 tweeted.  Odo Oqua @kahditzOqua further implied that “For those of you asking #WhereIsBuhari. HE IS DEAD!!! I’ve read about it and seen so many convincing evidence”. The #WhereisBuhari is still trending in the Nigerian Twitter space, with over 7, 000 comments and tweets tagged to it;  asking the question where is Buhari?

    President Buhari’s Death claims 

    In 2017, alleged claims about President Buhari’s death became rife. The President who had been ill around that time was taken to a London hospital for treatment where he stayed for almost 6 months, during which rumors began to spread that the  President had died. At the time, Eric Joyce, a Scottish National who claimed to have campaigned for President Buhari, Tweeted a condolence message to the President’s wife, Aisha Buhari, and further remarked that a new president would be confirmed in a day or two to replace the departed Mr. Buhari. “The Acting President, I guess. He’ll be confirmed in a day or two.” Tweeted Mr. Eric. 

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    When president Muhammadu later showed up in Nigeria,  diverse theories around his death were already in circulation. Some claimed he was cloned and  others contended that he was replaced with an imposter. The leader of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra, IPOB, Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, alleged that the real Buhari was dead and that the person leading the country was ‘Jubril’ of Sudan whom Mr. Kanu claimed to be a lookalike of President Buhari. In one instance, Mr. Kanu shared two images of Mr. Buhari, one reversed, to allege that the Buhari Nigerians elected in 2015, who is right-handed, had been replaced by Jubril, who was left-handed.

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    Mr. Buhari, who was in  Poland, attending a UN Climate Change Conference at the time, dispelled the claims saying: “…somebody just thought I am cloned, ….it is real me I assure you”. His personal assistant further shared a video of the President’s response: 

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    However, the recent upsurge of the #EndSARS protest gave rise to diverse criticism against the President over his absence on matters that many felt he could have acted faster: ANY PRESIDENT OF A NATION WHO CANNOT COME OUT LIVE TO ADDRESS HIS PEOPLE, THAT PRESIDENT, IS DEAD”  Omo kiikan @Omokiikan tweeted. However, after he broke the silence with a 12-minute speech, critics alleged that the speech lacked empathy and did not address salient issues about the #EndSARS protests, such as the alleged  Lekki toll gate shootings.

    As a result,   the social media took off with a new trend, #Buhariisdead, claiming that Buhari is dead and the real Buhari would have done better. A Twitter user,   Mazi Chiemerie Esiowu @ChiemerieEsiowu complained that: “His Address Should Be Titled ‘No Empathy Speech”. IT IS FINISHED Indeed! Nigerians Have Finally Realized They’ve No President. #EndSARS”

    To back up such claims, social media users began circulating an Instagram post shared recently by Zarah Buhari, (now Mrs. Indimi). The post sparked a new round of controversy, as most users on social media claimed Mrs. Zarah was referring to her father, the purported late Buhari. Though Dubawa had confirmed that Mrs. Zarah actually made the post on her verified Instagram page, she is yet to respond to a direct message on Instagram in response to the claims or give an explanation of the post in question.

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    The Alleged Buhari’s death certificate

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    The death certificate, just like the President’s daughter’s Instagram post, is circulated by social media users to serve as proof of Mr. Buhari’s purported demise in 2017. However, DUBAWA launched an investigation to track the veracity of the claim.

    Dubawa carried out a preliminary query to trace the source of the certificate and its history on the internet. Using InVid  (image/video verifying tool) reverse image searches,  the picture of the death certificate was traced to a defunct Facebook page called ‘Ohafia Political Forum’ where it was first shared in October 2018, by a certain Bishop Orieke.  The picture of the certificate was further shared multiple times; it attracted massive attention and appeared on different web platforms.  After an error level analysis was carried on the image, it turned out that the alleged death certificate was doctored. This procedure was neatly conducted and presented in the photocopied edition to conceal the procedure. Below are the results of the analysis: 

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    Results from forensically

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    Notice how it was doctored

    #WhereisBuhari: Again, social media claim Nigeria's president is dead, with ‘evidence’

    The alleged copy

    Conclusion

    The above copies revealed how the certificate was doctored. Dubawa has made efforts to contact The National Populations Commission but there has been no response yet.   Besides that, in 2018, Bishop Orieke who first shared the image was brought before the office of the Honorable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice for peddling false information. The certificate of death of President Buhari currently in circulation was, like the one that surfaced in 2018, doctored and edited.   It has also been in existence since 2018. The certificate was merely resurfaced to suit the lingering narrative of his absence during a national crisis that the president should have spoken to the nation.  

  • #EndSARS: Video used to portray Obasanjo running away from Nigeria

    Claim: Twitter user, @Skygirl_Angie, published a video with the claim that Obasanjo is running out of the country to escape the rage of the #EndSARS protest.

    #EndSARS: Video used to portray Obasanjo running away from Nigeria

    Dubawa confirms that the person in the video is indeed Obasanjo, there is, however, no link between the video and the current #EndSARS protest. @Skygirl_Angie, the claim-source, deleted her post after realizing that the video is not new.

    Full Text

    Twitter user, Orente_Africa (@Skygirl_Angie), published a video on 21st October claiming that Olusegun Obasanjo, a former president of Nigeria, is running out of the country. 

    This video has garnered over 445 retweets and 307 likes and has also been circulated on WhatsApp.

    #EndSARS: Video used to portray Obasanjo running away from Nigeria

    Verification

    In the bid to verify this claim, Dubawa took screenshots from the video and reversed them, using the Google Reverse Image tool but no result was found. Hence, we conducted a keyword search where we found a clearer version of the video.

    The video appeared in February 28th 2019 on Biafraud Expose, a YouTube page with 5.5k subscribers with the caption, “Obasanjo in airport trying to run as Buhari wins – Biafra news today.” It was also published here in March 2019.

    Further, Dubawa found that the former President had earlier reacted to news of him running away as published by Guardian on 15th February 2019, suggesting that there has been speculation about him running away before the video surfaced on the 28th.

    In addition to this, the claim-source @Skyegirl_Angie deleted her post after realizing her tweet was wrong and has nothing to do with the #EndSARS movement. 

    CONCLUSION 

    Dubawa confirms that the person in the video is Obasanjo, there is, however, no link between the video and the current #EndSARS protest. @Skygirl_Angie, the claim-source, deleted her post after realizing that the video is not new.

  • Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings

    A viral WhatsApp video claims the Turkish president insulted president Muhammadu Buhari over #EndSARS killings 

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings

    FALSE

    Full Text 

    Following the increasing number of casualties from the ongoing #EndSARS protest and reactions from different individuals and institutions, a viral WhatsApp video has come up with a claim that the Turkish president in a video insulted President Muhammadu Buhari over killings. The 30-second video captured a man attacking president Buhari and raining curses while questioning his religion.

    “Buhari I am telling you, I am calling you from Instabul, I am calling you from Turkey, stop killing the people. Are you crazy? You idiot, you are a crazy man, what are you doing, which kind of religion do you believe in…”

    Excerpt of the viral video message

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings
    Screenshot of Viral WhatsApp video.

    Verification

    A quick look at the video showed the person speaking in the video was not the Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan.

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings
    Screenshot of Turkish President’s photo.

    A keyword search led to a Facebook post by Shadys media which shared a video that could not be viewed with the caption; Turkish president insults Buhari. The post also had a Youtube link embedded in it which led to an unrelated video.

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings
    Screenshot of Facebook post by Shadys media.

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings

    Screenshot of youtube page linked to the Facebook post.

    Dubawa also conducted Keyframe analysis of the video and google reverse image search of these frames. This showed the video was used on a Facebook post by Biafra News Channel on April 14 with the caption “a message to Buhari from a Turkish Diplomat stop killing Biafrans please share this video share wide”

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings
    Screenshot of a Facebook post by Biafran News Channel.

    Another result of the reverse image search showed the video had also been used by African Tube on Facebook on March 31 noting Turkish Man comes hard for Buhari.

    Concocted video claims Turkish President insulted Buhari over #EndSARS killings
    Screenshot of the Facebook post by African Tube.

    Conclusion 

    The 30-second video is an old video that has been recirculated and is in no way related to the #EndSARS killing nor the president of Turkey which was said to be the one speaking in the video. The claim is false.

  • Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS

    Claim: A report by the Authority Newspaper claims that daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo brought about the dissolution of SARS.

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS

    Misleading

    Full Text

    Amidst the continuous protest against police brutality and the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), the  Authority Newspaper, in a report published on Monday, October 12, 2020, claimed that the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari and the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo, brought about the dissolution of SARS. 

    According to the report, with the headline “How Buhari, Osinbajo’s daughters brought SARS down”,  the Instagram post by Kiki Osinbajo and Zarah Buhari brought the pressure that led to the final disbanding of the Squad.

    The report, which could still be found on the website of the newspaper on Friday morning,  leads with these paragraphs, “Unknown to Nigerians, the daughters of President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, brought the pressure that led to the final disbandment of the notorious Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS).

    “Zarah Buhari and Kiki Osinbajo, were in the fore among Nigerian influencers who kicked against the abominable acts of the defunct SARS.”

    Apart from their efforts on Instagram, the report made no reference to any other activities involving the two that led to the acclaimed role of the duo and what  they they did to bring the police agency down

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Viral screenshot of Authority newspaper’s report.
    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Online report by Authority Newspaper.

    SARS

    The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was created in 1992 during the General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida military junta. A retired Commissioner of Police, Simeon Midenda, was quoted in a December 23, 2017 report by Vanguard newspaper to have claimed that  the unit was created by his effort.

    Midenda was quoted to have said, “SARS was founded by me in 1992. For a proper understanding of this, historical background to its formation is relevant. Anti-Robbery as the modus operandi of the Nigeria Police Force for combating armed robbery has been as old as the Police Force itself. As a unit also, anti-robbery had always existed in all Criminal Investigation Departments at Force Headquarters, Zonal and State Command levels. To claim that I founded SARS required explanation.”

    #EndSARS

    The hashtag #ENDSARS is a movement that started on Twitter against the brutality of a special unit under the police force known as Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). SARS has been accused of unlawful arrest, torture, and murder of Nigerian Youth. 

    The five demands of these protesters were: 

    -An end to SARS and police brutality

    -Release of all persons arrested and justice for victims of police brutality

    -Setting up an independent body to oversee the investigation and prosecution of all reports of police misconduct (within 10 days)

    -Psychological evaluation of all disbanded SARS officers before they can be redeployed, 

    -Increase in police salary.

    On the heels of the #EndSARS protest nationwide, the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, on Sunday October 11, 2020 announced the dissolution of SARS alongside other major police reforms. These reforms include the formation of an investigative team including civil society and human right groups, to investigate alleged cases of human rights violations by the police

    Following this, the presidential panel on reform of SARS also accepted the demands of these protesters, but the #ENDSARS movement initially aimed at ending SARS has  extended to other issues plaguing the Nigerian society. 

    Verification

    A keyword search showed screenshots of this paper’s report had gone viral, with some condemning the media for what it described as poor journalism. 

    An Instagram post by Nsifioke said media houses in Nigeria are dead.

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Nsifioke’s Instagram post.

    Looking at News reports, a report by the Guardian noted that the daughter of the president and vice president joined the #ENDSARS campaign by airing their views on Instagram.

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of the Guardian report.

    A similar report by the Vanguard also noted that the daughter of the president and vice president joined the #ENDSARS protest by the post they shared on Instagram. The report noted that while Kiki Osinbajo shared an Instagram post, Zahra Buhari shared her opinion on her Instagram story.

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Vanguard’s report.

    Another report by Premium Times noted that both the daughter of the President and that of the vice president took to their Instagram handle to show their support for the #ENDSARS movement but the daughter of the president, Zahra Buhari, took down her post afterwards.

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Premium Times Report.

    Dubawa went further to verify these reports by checking out the Instagram pages of Zahra and Kiki. 

    Dubawa discovered that while Kiki Osinbajo’s post on #ENDSARS made on October 10, 2020, remains on her page, there is no post on #ENDSARS on the page of Zahra Buhari. 

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Zahra Buhari’s Instagram page.
    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Kiki Osinbajo‘s Instagram page.
    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Kiki Osinbajo‘s post on #ENDSARS.

    A Google reverse image search also showed different platforms that the screenshot of this paper had been shared. 

    A twitter post by @Deshysmalls with the screenshot of the Newspaper questioned the editor of the paper. 

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of Deshysmalls twitter post.

    Similarly, another post by OlajideTV questioned what sort of blunder this report could be.

    Misleading newspaper report claims daughters of Buhari, Osinbajo facilitated dissolution of SARS
    Screenshot of OlajideTV’s post.

    Dubawa reached out to Zahra Buhari and Kiki Osinbajo on Instagram via direct message to get their reaction to the report by Authority Newspaper but there was no response as of the time of publishing this check.

    Dubawa,  also reached out to the newspaper to get reason for that report via email but is yet to get a response.

    Media experts comment

    Habib Oladapo, the Project Manager of Civic Media Lab said the report was already discredited by further developments.

    He said, “I think the newspaper was just playing on the fact that there was a statement later that evening that SARS has been disbanded so they were trying to give credit to those people probably because they are related to prominent people or the authorities. Maybe that is why it was done but that is totally false. there were also issues that came after and of course the protest still continued after that so that totally discredits their report”.

    To Moturanyo Alaka, the Executive Director, Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), the report is an example of sensational journalism.

    “The report is an example of sensational journalism. The body of the piece provides no evidence of the claim of its headline. It in no way represents the standard or stance of the Nigerian media,” she said.

    Conclusion

    While it is true that Zahra Buhari and Kiki Osinbajo supported the #ENDSARS campaign, the headline and report by Authority newspaper stating that they brought down SARS is misleading. 

    Despite making their support known a day to the dissolution of SARS by the IGP, they did not in any special way influence the movement, aside sharing their opinions like every other Nigerians did on their social media account. It is also incontrovertible that both daughters did not come out to join the protest or lead any protest.

  • Did President Buhari sign a new Police bill to allow officers arrest without a warrant? Yes!

    A Twitter user claims that President Buhari has signed a new police bill that grants police officers the power to arrest without a warrant or court order. 

    Did President Buhari sign a new Police bill to allow officers arrest without a warrant? Yes!

    The claim that President Buhari has signed a new police bill which allows the police to arrest without a warrant or court order is true. The bill is confirmed to have been in place since September 16, 2020.

    Full Text

    On August 24, a verified twitter handle, Wanazila (@wana_) claimed that President Muhammadu Buhari has signed a new police bill that gives the Police the right to arrest without a warrant or court order. 

    Did President Buhari sign a new Police bill to allow officers arrest without a warrant? Yes!
    Culled from twitter.com

    Following the claim on the ‘new provision’ in the New Police Act, controversies have been stirred up in the comment section. Some persons have tagged the claim as fake news.  For instance, Thelomen Tarteno with the user name @narpako, wrote, ‘Jumping to conclusions, sensationalism, peddling misinformation and all-out spreading of bullshit is the universal talent shared by a great many Nigerians’. Tammy Solo Qtified (@tmscool) wrote, ‘You are one of the reasons we can’t move forward. You thrive in peddling false info or uninformed info just to feel relevant right?’

    Some other people believe the law has been existing before now and see no reason why it should be newsworthy. For instance, A twitter user Abiola De Moe (@abiolamoe) wrote, ‘This isn’t a new law. A police officer can affect arrest in an on-going crime or that which is about to happen without a warrant. Stop trying to add this to one of the regular ‘troll-the government threads…’ another user named Dami (@TheAngleDami) said ‘‘Buhari didn’t just sign this… This law has always been there…’. 

    This tweet garnered a whopping  2.6k retweets, 734 quoted tweets and 1.6k likes. With diverse opinions that ranged from disbelief, doubt to believability. 

    Verification

    Information about the signing of the bill was shared by credible news sources, on September 16, 2020, when President Muhammadu Buhari assented to a new Nigeria Police Bill, 2020.

    The new act which has 142 sections explains the general duties of the Police to include, among others, protection of the rights and freedom of every person in Nigeria, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and any other law; provision on humanitarian assistance for citizens, facilitation of movement on highways, etc without subjecting citizens to extortion, and adoption of community partnership in the performance of police duties. 

    The power to arrest without a warrant was spelt out in Section 38(1) of the act.

    “(1) In addition to the powers of arrest without warrant conferred upon a police officer by section 10 of the Criminal Procedure Act, it shall be lawful for any police officer and any person whom he may call to his assistance, to arrest without warrant in the following cases- 

    [Cap. C41.] 

    (a) any person whom he finds committing any felony, misdemeanour or simple offence, or whom he reasonably suspects of having committed or of being about to commit any felony, misdemeanour or breach of the peace;

    (b) any person whom any other person charged with having committed a felony or misdemeanour;

    (c) any person whom any other person-

     (i) suspects of having committed a felony or misdemeanour; or

     (ii) charges with having committed a simple offence, if such other person is willing to accompany the police officer to the police station and to enter into a recognisance to prosecute such charge.”

    In summary, the bill states that a police officer has the power to arrest whom he suspects (on a reasonable ground) of having committed an offence unless the law creating the offence provides that the suspect cannot be arrested without a warrant. 

    “(2) The provisions of this section shall not apply to any offence with respect to which it is provided that any offender may not be arrested without warrant.”

    Further research shows that the repealed Police Cap P19 LFN 2004 Act also has provision for the ‘no warrant arrest’ in section 24(1) of the repealed Act. It states

    It states, “A police officer may, without an order of a court and without a warrant arrest a suspect: 

    1. Whom he suspects on reasonable grounds of having committed an offence against a law in Nigeria or against the law of any other country unless these creating the offence provides that the suspect cannot be arrested without warrant.”

    CONCLUSION 

    The viral tweet on the New Police Act by the Twitter user is TRUE. President Muhammadu Buhari assented to a new Nigeria Police Bill, 2020 which accords police officers the power to arrest without a warrant except on grounds where the laws spelling out an offence permit a warrant before an arrest.

  • Fact-checking Reno Omokri’s claim on Nigeria’s debt profile

    On 10th September 2020, Reno Omokri, an ex-spokesperson to the former president Goodluck Jonathan, claimed that Jonathan met a debt of N7.9trillion when he became president in 2010. He added that in five years, Mr Jonathan only borrowed the sum of N4.7 trillion.

    The claim which was posted on his twitter handle @renoomokri gathered 100 retweets and 283 likes in the first forty-two minutes. He also advanced that the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, met the debt of N12 trillion and has borrowed N18.9trillion.

    “Let me shock Nigerians: @GEJonathan met a debt of ₦7.9 trillion in 2010. In 5 years, he borrowed ₦4.7 trillion. He built Abuja-Kad rail, 14 universities, etc. General @MBuhari met a debt of ₦12 trillion and borrowed ₦18.9 trillion. What has he done with the debt? #BuhariTormentor” he tweeted.

    Former President Jonathan who was the vice president to President Umar Musa Yar’Adua was named the acting president on February 9, 2010, after the invocation of the doctrine of necessity when the late president Yar’Adua left the country for medical treatment in November 2009. 

    He was sworn in as the president of Nigeria following the death of his principal on May 5, 2010.  He left office in 2015 after losing his re-election bid to the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari.

    In 2019, Mr Buhari got re-elected after defeating his archrival, Abubakar Atiku, of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the last general election.

     THE CLAIMS

    Claim 1:

    That former President Goodluck Jonathan met a total debt of N7.9trillion when he became president in 2010 and borrowed the sum of N4.7 trillion for various developmental projects

    Claim 2:

    That president Muhammadu met a debt of N12 trillion naira in 2015 and has borrowed N18.9 trillion

    Findings on claim 1

    Although Mr Omokri did not provide the exact date Mr Jonathan took over in 2010 in his claim, The ICIR visited the website of Debt Management Office (DMO) to obtain documents of Nigeria’s debt profile between 2010 – 2020.

    According to the 2010 annual report of the Debt Management Office (DMO), the total public debt outstanding rose in 2010 and was traced to borrowings from both external and domestic sources. The increase in the external debt component came largely from multilateral sources.

    The total public debt outstanding at the end of 2010 (external and domestic debt of the Federal Government) was N5,234,822,824.917 trillion (US$35,093.10 million) at an official CBN exchange rate of N149.17/US$1 as of December 2010. This represented an increase of N1,383,551,851 trillion(US$9,275.68 million), or 35.93 per cent when compared to N3,851,121,952 trillion (US$25,817.42million) at the end of 2009. 

    The increase came from both the external and domestic components of the total debt stock, with the latter accounting for the bulk (93.3 %) of the total increase. 

    The significant rise in the domestic debt can be traced to the N1,244,376,204 trillion (US$8,342.43 million) issuances of new FGN bonds to fund projects in key growth sectors of the economy and to finance the 2010 budget deficit.

    As at the end of March 2015, Nigeria’s total internal and external debt stock stood at N12.06 trillion or $63.5 billion, up from N11.2 trillion or $67.726 billion in December 2014 according to figures released by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on March 31, 2015.

    Fact-checking Reno Omokri’s claim on Nigeria’s debt profile

    Verdict: False 

    The claim that former President Goodluck Jonathan met a total debt of N7.9trillion when he became president in 2010. According to the debt management office, as at Dec 31, 2010, Nigeria’s public debt was N5,234,822,824.917 trillion. 

    Claim 2

    Barely a month after the emergence of Mr Buhari as president in 2015, the debt management office published a report which pegged Nigeria’s debt profile at N12.12 trillion as of June 2015. 

    Also, as of June 30, 2020, the agency in its report on the country debt profile said the total Public Debt Stock which comprises the Debt Stock of the Federal Government, the 36 State Governments and the Federal Capital Territory stood at ₦31.009 Trillion.

    A breakdown of the figure showed that external debt accounts for 36.65 percent of the country’s total debt. According to a recent NBS report on Nigeria’s public debt profile, the total external debt stands at N11,363,243.93 trillion, of which the Federal government accounted for #9,824,282.88, representing 31.68 percent of the external debt while state governments and the FCT accounted for 1,538,961.05, representing 4.96 percent of the debt

    Also, the domestic debt of the country’s total debt profile accounted for #19,645,398.21 trillion, representing 63.35 percent. Of the domestic debt, the federal government has a total of 15,455,699.13 trillion, representing 49.84 percent while the state governments and the FCT accounted for 4,189,699.08 trillion, representing 13.51 percent of the debt.

    According to DMO, the increase was necessitated by the USD3.36 Billion Budget Support Loan from the International Monetary Fund, New Domestic Borrowing to finance the Revised 2020 Appropriation Act including the issuance of the ₦162.557 Billion Sukuk, and Promissory Notes issued to settle claims of Exporters.

    Verdict:

    Fact-checking Reno Omokri’s claim on Nigeria’s debt profile

    It is TRUE that president Muhammadu met a debt of #12 trillion naira in 2015 and has borrowed #18.9 trillion to finance critical infrastructure projects.  

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The ICIR to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

  • Are prices of food items ‘coming down’ as claimed by Garba Shehu?

    Malam Garba who stated that though prices may differ across the country stressed that there was a general drop in prices of food items. 

    This, according to him, is as a result of President Muhammadu Buhari’s reforms in the agricultural sector.

    That there is a general drop in prices of food items in the country.

    FINDINGS

    The ICIR visited the website of the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to get the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and inflation report for the month of August 2020 to verify the claim.

    The CPI is an index of prices paid for goods and services by the public in shops, markets, etc. It is one measure of inflation that captures the list of the prices of products; it alsoshows how much prices have increased during a particular period of time.

    It uses economic theory, sampling and other statistical techniques including surveys to produce a weighted measure of average price changes in the country.

    According to NBS in its recent report on the country’s Consumer Price Index (CPI), Nigeria’s inflation rate increased by 13.22% in August 2020. The increment is 0.40 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in July 2020 (12.82 percent).

    On a month-on-month basis, the index increased by 1.34 percent in August 2020. This is 0.09 percent higher than the rate recorded in July 2020 (1.25 percent).

    In addition, the urban inflation rate rose to 13.83 percent (year-on-year) in August 2020 from 13.40 percent recorded in July 2020, while the rural inflation rate increased by 12.65 percent in August 2020 from 12.28 percent in July 2020.

    On a month-on-month basis, the urban index rose by 1.42 percent in August 2020, up by 0.15 from 1.27 percent recorded in July 2020, while the rural index also rose by 1.27 percent in August 2020, up by 0.04 from the rate recorded in July 2020 (1.23 percent)

    This statistics captures all food item indexes.

    Prices of food items

    Selected food price watch data for August 2020 also showed that the average price of 1 dozen of medium-sized Agric eggs increased year-on-year by 3.70% and month-on-month by 1.02% to N478.97 in August 2020 from N474.12 in July 2020 while the average price of piece of Agric eggs medium size (the price of one) increased year-on-year by 5.44% and month-on-month by 0.76% to N42.78 in August 2020 from N42.45 in July 2020.

    The average price of 1kg of tomato increased year-on-year by 29.48% and decreased month-on-month by -4.65% to N289.86 in August 2020 from N304.01 in July 2020.

    The average price of 1kg of rice (imported high quality sold loose) increased year-on-year by 40.69% and month-on-month by 2.30% to N501.71 in August 2020 from N490.44 in July 2020.

    Similarly, the average price of 1kg of yam tuber increased year-on-year by 34.74% and decreased month on month by -0.15% to N256.06 in August 2020 from N256.44 in July 2020

    The rise in the food index is, therefore, attributed to increases in prices of Bread and cereals, Potatoes, yam and other tubers, Meat, Fish, Fruits, Oils and fats and Vegetables.

    According to SB Morgen’s Q2 analysis on the prices of food across some selected states in Nigeria, comments from citizens translate the rising figures released by the NBS. 

    In the report, a woman quoted in Baruwa, Lagos, said that she typically spends N5,500 making a pot of jollof rice, up from N4,000. She, however, complained that even with this amount, the food does not go round enough for the entire family. According to this respondent, the most expensive ingredients are tomatoes, rice, chicken, and groundnut oil. Her family substitutes jollof rice with the new Jollof noodles and sometimes spaghetti. 

    The report also noted a respondent based in Abuja said that during the period of the pandemic, the cost of cooking Jollof rice has doubled. She added that she now uses fish in place of chicken or beef as these protein sources are now out of reach for her. This has reduced the number of times her family eats jollof rice, and she substitutes spaghetti or beans for rice.

    Buhari’s lament

    In addition, President Muhammadu Buhari on September 3, 2020, eight days before Mr Shehu Garba made the claim, lamented the increasing roles of middlemen in the hike in prices of food items across the country.

    He said the government was engaging with food producers associations to tackle the issue of exploitative behaviour by middlemen which, according to him, were one of the factors responsible for the current high food prices.

    “We are very mindful of the challenge of high food prices, at a time when the economy is already in a slowdown caused by the global coronavirus situation, and are doing everything in our power to bring down the prices of food items across the country,” Buhari said.

    Verdict

    With the above findings, there is no attribution that can be made to the spokesman’s claim about the decrease in the prices of food which make his claim FALSE. 

    On the contrary, there is a sheer steady rise in the prices of food across the country with the figures published by the country’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with The ICIR to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

  • No Evidence That A Soldier Who Shot Senior Officer Was a Member of Boko Haram

    A Facebook page with the name Datti Assalafy claims that a soldier, Uzonna Maduabuchi, who shot his senior officer in Maiduguri, has a connection with Boko Haram.

     The page added that Nigerian Army had once put Uzonna Maduabuchi in a wanted list after he was captured by Boko Haram and made to join the terrorists group.

     A fact-check has revealed that the claim is untrue. Uzonna Maduabuchi had never appeared in the military’s wanted list. He was also never caught by Boko Haram terrorists while in operation. 

    Full Text 

    An influential Facebook page with name Datti Assalafy, known for posting information about insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, recently claimed that Uzonna Maduabuchi is an ex-member of Boko Haram who was once declared wanted by the Nigerian Army.

    The post reads in part: “An open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari Maigaskiya. I want him to read this letter himself. Anybody close to the president should please forward this message to him. 

    “On Wednesday July 29, 2020, at around 10:00am a Nigerian soldier with name Uzoona Maduabuchi from 202 Battalion of the 21st Armored Bridget in Bama, took his rifle and shot dead his commander Lieutenant Babakaka Shehu Ngori. 

    “The late Lt. Babakaka is a Muslim and a native of Borno State who played a key role in the fight against Boko Haram. He is the true hero who prevented Boko Haram from entering Bama at the current situation. 

    Datti Assalafy claimed that “what happened was, Uzoona Maduabuchi joined the military a few years ago. 

    “There was a time when Boko Haram launched an attack on a military base, killing and arresting people. Boko Haram said they would not kill him. He should convert to Islam and help them in a war. 

    “At the time, Nigerian Army closed his payroll account after confirming that he is a full-fledged member of Boko Haram and declared him wanted.” (See the second picture at number 47) 

    No Evidence That A Soldier Who Shot Senior Officer Was a Member of Boko Haram

    “Then one day Uzoona managed to leave Boko Haram after three years of working with them and he was accepted and sent back to work with Nigerian Army. 

    “The mission that brought him back to Boko Haram is to kill a great commander who prevented Boko Haram from prospering and winning Bama. 

    “This is a hidden story and I know that President Buhari’s associates would not allow him to know this story since the soldier is said to be mentally ill because he killed a Muslim. But if it was otherwise, Fani Kayode would have insult [sic] Islam and Muslims.”

    Maduabuchi was never declared wanted 

    In a statement from the Nigerian Army, Uzoona Maduabuchi was identified as a 16NA regular intake which, according to Murtala Abdullahi, a military expert, means he joined the Army in 2016. 

    However, the poster uploaded by Datti Asslafy with names and pictures of Boko Haram commanders was released in 2015 when Nigerian Army declared them wanted, about a year before Maduabuchi was recruited by the Army. 

    This falsifies the claim that he joined the Nigerian Army and was later abducted by Boko Haram during a war, got declared wanted,  escaped from Boko Haram and came back to the army. 

    Why did he kill his officer? 

    The Nigerian Army is yet to finish investigations on why Maduabuchi kIlled his officer. 

    However, preliminary investigations indicate that the soldier might be depressed due to his unpaid allowances. 

    The Nation learnt that he “was embittered because his allowances were withheld and account blocked” 

    However, the newspaper added that “it was not clear whether the deceased officer had anything to do with his plights”. 

    Conclusion 

    The claim that Uzoona Maduabuchi who killed his officer in Bama is an ex-member of Boko Haram who was once declared wanted for working with Boko Haram for three years is misleading.

     There is no evidence that the soldier killed his officer due to an assignment given to him by Boko Haram. 

    Although investigation is still in progress, preliminary reports revealed that Maduabuchi was angry and depressed, owing to his unpaid allowance and the blockage of his account.

    This fact-check is produced per HumAngle partnership with the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria.

  • Spraying of Naira notes is an offence punishable by imprisonment in Nigeria

    Some Facebook users recently argued that spraying of naira notes is an offence in Nigeria. They were reacting to the footage of the wedding of President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter where guests were seen spraying Naira notes.

    True: the claim that “spraying of naira notes is an offence” is true. Section 21 of the CBN Act 2007 clearly states that spraying of Naira notes is an offence punishable by six months imprisonment or a fine of N50,000 or both for offenders.

    Full Text

    President Muhammadu Buhari’s daughter, Hanan, got married to Mohammed Sani Sha’aban, at the Presidential Villa on Friday, September 4.

    On Sunday, September 6, Sahara Reporters published footage of some moments at the wedding showing guests as they spray money on the smiling couple.

    The footage has generated over 2,000 comments and about 5,000 shares on Sahara Reporters Facebook page, as of Saturday, September 12, with Nigerians arguing on the legality, or not, of spraying of Naira notes.

    While some claimed that spraying of Naira notes is illegal, others argued that there is nothing wrong with it.

    For instance, a Facebook user, Baffa Garba wrote: “I don’t see anything wrong here it’s just Naira and of course N200 Naira notes even an ordinary marriage may have better than this,  they are both from big background they have friends and relatives who can do it”

    “Let be sincere with ourselves here,what do you expect them to spray is paper,or leaves, certainly it must be naira even if it is common Nigerian wedding ceremony naira must be sprayed.may God be with us,” another Facebook user, Semiu Adegoke, wrote.

    However, Dare Olowookere, differed in his own submission, claiming that the practice is illegal. 

    “Spraying of naira notes is an offence. CBN spent millions of naira every year for campaign against naira abuse, here the first family children disobeying the law. The CBN Governor might even be at this party. Truly Nigeria is a contradiction under this regime,” Olowokere claimed.

    Verification

    To confirm the veracity of the claim, Dubawa surfed the website of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria’s apex monetary authority, for relevant (legislative) documents.

    Section 21 of the CBN Act 2007 deals with tampering with, and trading, in Naira notes. The Act prescribes “imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50,000 or to both such fine and imprisonment for anyone guilty of “spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions”.

    The full section is reproduced below: 

    “21. ——(1) A person who tampers with a coin or note issued by the Bank is guilty of an offence and shall on notes and coins imprisonment for a term not less than six months or to a fine not less than N50,000 or to both such fine and imprisonment.

    (2) A coin or note shall be deemed to have been tampered with if the coin or note has been impaired, diminished or lightened otherwise than by fair wear and tear or has been defaced by stumping, engraving, mutilating, piercing, stapling, writing, tearing, soiling, squeezing or any other form of deliberate and willful abuse whether the coin or note has or has not been thereby diminished or lightened.

    (3) For the avoidance of doubt, spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute an abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section.

    (4) It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.

    (5) In this section——

    (i) “Matching” includes spreading scattering or littering of any surface with any Naira notes or coins and stepping thereon, regardless of the value, volume, occasion or intent.

     (ii) “Spraying” includes adorning, decorating or spraying anything or any person or any part of any person or the person of another with Naira notes or coins or sprinkling or sticking of the Naira notes or coins in a similar manner regardless of the amount, occasion or the intent.”

    The law became necessary in a bid by the CBN to minimize “costs in printing and minting currency.”

    Enforcement of the Act

    Though the law has been in place since 2007, there has been no report of arrests or prosecution for spraying of Naira notes at social events, despite being a prevalent practice in the country.

    The only reported cases of arrest have been about those hawking the notes, not those spraying. Few instances of the reports of such arrests can be found here, here and here

    Also, the CBN’s “Clean Notes Policy” campaign to discourage the practice has not yielded much results.

    A report by The Nation states that enforcing the law has been difficult because it “has had to contend with Nigerians’ culture of spraying money at social events”.

    Even former president Olusegun Obasanjo who signed the bill into law was caught, with pictures, a situation which led to criticisms against the central bank for failing to enforce its laws, according to a Premium Times report.

    Also, controversial former Kogi senator, Dino Melaye, was seen on video spraying notes on a singer, Yinka Ayefele, at his mother’s burial in 2019.

    In 2018, the CBN and commercial banks announced they have resolved to introduce mobile courts to arrest currency hawkers and people who spray at parties.

    “In the near future, there is going to be an introduction of mobile courts to handle such situations and those caught would be dealt with on the spot,” Hamda Ambah, managing director, FSDH Merchant Bank, said on behalf of the Bankers Committee.

    Two years later, nothing has been heard about the proposed mobile court.

    The CBN did not respond to Dubawa‘s email asking for the progress so far made in terms of the enforcement of the Act since 2007.

    Conclusion

    Spraying of Naira notes at social occasions or any other place is an offense, according to the CBN Act 2007. Section 21 of the Act prescribes a fine of N50,000 or six months imprisonment or both for anyone found culpable. 

    However, there is no evidence anyone has been arrested and prosecuted for the offence, despite its prevalence in the country.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country. 

  • Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    By Francis Arinze Iloani

    As the Edo and Ondo States Election approaches, we have identified eight types of political disinformation [otherwise known as propaganda] designed and viciously disseminated to sway the choices of would-be voters. In fact, a recent article, by Iwok Iniobong titled “Edo, Ondo guber: Why politicians, parties must tread softly,” posited that politicians in Edo and Ondo campaigns had deviated from their manifestos in favour of spreading misinformation and disinformation. “If you observe very well, presentation of manifestos is no longer the in-thing, but the campaign is about use of base language and innuendos against opponents,” Iniobong said. 

    Exhibit 1 – there were several opposing information circulated through the media, particularly the social media, on the attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s entourage at the Oba of Benin Palace. 

    The Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Campaign Council, Chief Dan Orbih, alleged that “the attack was a plot to eliminate Governor Obaseki, national officials of PDP and some PDP governors.”

    Conversely, the Vice Chairman, Media and Publicity Committee of the All Progressives Congress’ (APC) National Campaign Council, Mr. Patrick Obahiagbon, alleged that the PDP was responsible for the attack and that Governor Obaseki was planning to arrest and detain the former National Chairman of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on the eve of the election.

    Bearing this in mind and being conscious of the reality that some media consumers may not have the required media literacy to easily detect propaganda from the legion of information in the media, here are the eight ways to easily detect propaganda in the media: 

    Bandwagon veiled as information

    Politicians veil propaganda as information in the form of bandwagon. The idea here is to convey the notion that if you don’t get aboard you will be left out. A media literate consumer should watch out for politicians who direct their appeals to groups held together by common ties. For instance, politicians at subnational levels in Nigeria are likely to rely on bandwagon effects if their party is in charge at the federal level. It is widely shared that the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari contributed to the victory of some governors and lawmakers. A media literate person should be able to notice media messages designed to appeal to sentiments of voters based on common ties, rather than merits.

    Name calling as against genuine manifestos

    Be careful of politicians who appeal to your hate and fear.  They do name calling by the use of negative words or labels to create prejudice against some person, group or idea. For instance, Dr. Charles Omorodion’s article titled “Edo 2020: Beware of Obaseki’s perfidy, betrayal and Judas Kiss!” published on Bloomshire stated that “as a betrayal, in a deeper sense, Obaseki is sending an ominous signal of how little he cares about, or values his relationship with APC.” A media literate person should judge Obaseki beyond the tag of “a betrayer.” Name calling cuts across all the political campaigners in Edo and Ondo States.

    Reliance on testimonial

    Politicians deploying testimonial propaganda use experts, celebrities, or perceived opinion leaders to offer reasons why they are best suited to be elected.  As the elections in Edo and Ondo States draw nearer, you are likely to see more celebrity endorsements of candidates. For instance, a national newspaper recently reported that  teachers in Ondo State under the auspices of the National Network of Teachers for Good Governance and Quality Education endorsed Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu for a second term in office. A media literate news consumer reasons beyond such propaganda and focuses more on Governor Akeredolu’s manifesto for his second term. 

    Read more.


    Fact checks of the week

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    Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    A Facebook user, Okeke Nelson, on the Radio Biafra London page, put up a twitter post alleged to be from the President of the United States, Donald Trump. In the post, Trump said…

    Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    An All Progressives Congress (APC) party leader, Joe Igbokwe, deploys varieties of cheering photographs on Facebook claiming they are that of the recently …

    Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    QandA

    • When is the Edo election holding? 

    The Edo governorship election has been scheduled for September 19th.

    • How many Candidates are on the INEC final list for Edo election?

    According to the final list of candidates released by the Independent Electoral Commission, there are 14 candidates in total. From the 14 governorship candidates, only 2 are females.  The two female governorship candidates are Mabel Oboh of African Democratic Congress (ADC) and Agol Tracy of New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP).

    Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    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 

    Eight signs of propaganda as Edo, Ondo go to the polls

    #FakeNews Alert 

    Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? Who is your source’s source? Has this been published by another platform? Is this a wrong headline? Is the figure accurate? Has it been Over/Under stated? Be sure to verify the content of this report before sharing.

    Questions to ask yourself:  What is the evidence behind this number? Is there a proof? Is this a misleading statement? What is the intention of the speaker? You may be shocked what you’ll find out.


    Other Fact-checks 

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