Home » Nigeria protests: The misinformation circulating on-line

Nigeria protests: The misinformation circulating on-line

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By Peter Mwai
BBC Reality Check

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picture copyrightReuters
picture captionProtests concerning the Sars police unit have been occurring for 2 weeks
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Protests started earlier this month in Nigeria calling on the authorities to abolish a controversial police unit known as the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars).

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

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

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

A placing picture of a girl known as Ugwu Blessing Ugochukwu crying whereas holding a folded Nigerian flag, and sitting on high of a statue have been broadly shared on Twitter.

Screen shot of social post labelled False

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

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

When we contacted a spokesperson for Ms Ugochukwu known as Gideon Obianime, he informed 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 think people started adding assumptions to the photo. She has been getting a lot of backlash [over this],” Mr Obianime informed the BBC.

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

Screen shot of Facebook post labelled misleading

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

It’s been broadly shared on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, with some suggesting there’s an unwritten army code to that impact.

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

Someone replies saying: “I think this is military code… You guys should repost so protesters will see.”

However, there is no 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, informed the BBC there have been legal guidelines about respecting the nationwide flag, however added: “Just the fact that someone is holding the flag would not mean they [the army] cannot act.”

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

However, a Nigerian journalist informed us that they had requested a former senior officer about this, and had been informed no such observe existed.

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

Screen shot of Twitter post labelled misleading

Just a few days into the protests, a video was posted on-line displaying one among President Muhammadu Buhari’s advisers, Femi Adesina, apparently referring to them as simply “child’s play”.

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

Alongside the video was a message: “If you are not angry enough, I hope this video helps you.”

But the video is previous and has been edited out of context.

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

At the time, Mr Adesina had been on an area TV station speaking about these protests. But the video posted on Twitter has been edited to take away the introduction, which might have given the correct 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 telephone being “bombarded…. with curses, expletives, and messages from the pit of hell”.

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

A screenshot of a tweet claiming a video was an old video

And now for an instance of one thing being known as out as pretend that did occur – though precisely who was concerned will not be clear.

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

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

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

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

Others claimed the video was staged.

From the video, some outlets within the location will be clearly recognized and we discovered they match pictures 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.

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

We 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 which used an old photo of Nigerian Catholic bishops on a march

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

The tweet included a photograph displaying 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 Conference 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.

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

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