Nigeria protests: The misinformation circulating on-line

Nigeria protests: The misinformation circulating on-line

By Peter Mwai
BBC Actuality Test

Associated Matters

  • Actuality Test

A demonstrator wearing a blindfold with an inscription

picture copyrightReuters

picture captionProtests concerning the Sars police unit have been occurring for 2 weeks

Protests started earlier this month in Nigeria calling on the authorities to abolish a controversial police unit referred to as the Particular Anti-Theft Squad (Sars).

The story has began trending globally, with hundreds of posts on social media, however not all of them factual.

We now have checked out among the misinformation that has unfold on-line.

The lady protestor whose brothers weren’t killed by the police

A putting picture of a lady referred to as Ugwu Blessing Ugochukwu crying whereas holding a folded Nigerian flag, and sitting on prime of a statue have been extensively shared on Twitter.

The picture is actual, and she or he had joined protests in south-eastern Nigeria. However because the picture was shared, individuals began including deceptive info.

“Not one brother…3…on the identical day…killed and dumped in a effectively,” a widely-circulated reply to one of many posts with the picture mentioned, claiming she’d misplaced members of the family by the hands of the police.

  • How Nigeria’s anti-police brutality protests went world

Once we contacted a spokesperson for Ms Ugochukwu referred to as Gideon Obianime, he instructed us this was not true.

He mentioned Ms Ugochukwu herself was briefly detained by Sars forces in 2018, however though she has brothers, none of them had been killed by Sars forces.

“I feel individuals began including assumptions to the photograph. She has been getting a variety of backlash [over this],” Mr Obianime instructed the BBC.

Carrying the nationwide flag is not going to defend you from the military

This unproven declare has gone viral – {that a} soldier can’t shoot somebody holding the Nigerian flag.

It has been extensively shared on Twitter, Fb and Instagram, with some suggesting there’s an unwritten navy code to that impact.

The declare seems to have originated from a screenshot of a dialog, through which somebody says they have been instructed this by their dad, a retired military officer.

Somebody replies saying: “I feel that is navy code… You guys ought to repost so protesters will see.”

Nonetheless, there is not any proof for this, and a few accounts have since deleted their posts after different on-line customers identified it was deceptive.

Onyekachi Umah, a lawyer in Nigeria, instructed the BBC there have been legal guidelines about respecting the nationwide flag, however added: “Simply the truth that somebody is holding the flag wouldn’t imply they [the army] can’t act.”

We now have requested the military to seek out out if the follow is to not goal any protester holding the flag, however they’ve but to reply.

Nonetheless, a Nigerian journalist instructed us they’d requested a former senior officer about this, and had been instructed no such follow existed.

No, a senior Nigerian official did not name the protests ‘kid’s play’

A number of days into the protests, a video was posted on-line exhibiting considered one of President Muhammadu Buhari’s advisers, Femi Adesina, apparently referring to them as simply “kid’s play”.

Many interpreted this to imply the president’s adviser was dismissing the protests.

Alongside the video was a message: “In case you are not offended sufficient, I hope this video helps you.”

However the video is outdated and has been edited out of context.

It pertains to a distinct set of protests held two months in the past – and has nothing to do with the Sars concern.

On the time, Mr Adesina had been on an area TV station speaking about these protests. However the video posted on Twitter has been edited to take away the introduction, which might have given the right context.

The TV station involved, Channels TV, has now issued a clarification concerning the video.

And Mr Adesina himself has launched an announcement, thanking the station for the clarification, and saying that the deceptive video led to his cellphone being “bombarded…. with curses, expletives, and messages from the pit of hell”.

The ‘faux’ shopping center incident that wasn’t faux

And now for an instance of one thing being referred to as out as faux that did occur – though precisely who was concerned shouldn’t be clear.

A video exhibiting looting and violence at a shopping center in south-west Nigeria’s Osun state over the weekend turned the topic of accusations and counter-accusations about hyperlinks to the anti-police brutality protests.

The quick video was posted by a Twitter account belonging to the All Progressives Congress UK – a bunch allied to Nigeria’s ruling get together – alleging that protesters linked to the anti-Sars motion have been looting.

However some on-line customers supporting the anti-Sars protests have been fast to dismiss the video.

They mentioned it was not associated to Sars protests, however from the retaliatory assaults final 12 months towards South African-associated companies after Nigerians had been focused in South Africa.

Others claimed the video was staged.

From the video, some retailers within the location could be clearly recognized and we discovered they match photographs posted on the Osun Mall web site.

The BBC spoke to one of many store homeowners and somebody who witnessed the assault, who confirmed it occurred.

Additionally, this mall solely opened in December final 12 months, some months after the xenophobic assaults – which guidelines out the video being from then.

We now have contacted the state police to attempt to discover out who was concerned within the incident, however have but to obtain a response.

Nigerian Catholic bishops and an anti-Sars protest

A tweet that has been re-tweeted hundreds of occasions falsely claimed that Catholic bishops had marched in help of the protests.

The tweet included a photograph exhibiting bishops amongst a procession of individuals, most of them sporting black, with some carrying placards.

A reverse picture search exhibits it’s from March, when the Catholic Bishop’s Convention of Nigeria (CBCN) led a protest in Abuja towards killings and kidnappings within the nation.

The umbrella physique of Catholic Bishops in Nigeria has issued an announcement supporting the Sars protests, however they haven’t bodily joined in any protests.

Extra reporting by BBC Monitoring’s Linnete Bahati and BBC Africa’s Yemisi Adegoke

Learn extra from Actuality Test

Associated Matters

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *