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‘Illegal’ Ikoyi weddings, COVID electric bulbs… how fake news shaped events in 2021

‘Illegal’ Ikoyi weddings, COVID electric bulbs… how fake news shaped events in 2021
December 29
08:55 2021

As fake news and misinformation continue to take major stage worldwide, 2021 was no exception. It has been a year fully packed with viral distorted images, tweets, articles and statements. While many persons shared such messages without a doubt, others took a step back and questioned the claims. 

As soon as such misleading content pierces through the walls of social media, it enjoys wide circulation and begins to look like facts. Most of these misleading claims have been subjected to verification by TheCable’s fact-check desk.

In this article, we highlight some prominent fake news that hit the waves in the year.

DID COURT NULLIFY WEDDINGS DONE AT IKOYI REGISTRY? 

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Earlier in the month, the fake news about the nullification of weddings sealed at the Ikoyi registry became the biggest news item across all platforms.

Some media reports inaccurately claimed that a federal high court sitting in Lagos, on December 8, granted an order nullifying all weddings conducted by the registry since 2004 and ordered the shutdown of the marriage registry.

The news was also shared by several social media users.

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But what did the court actually say?

According to a document obtained by TheCable, a federal high court sitting in Lagos, on December 8, did not grant an order nullifying all weddings conducted by the Ikoyi registry. It is also untrue that the court ordered the shutdown of the federal marriage registry.

However, D.E. Osiagor, the presiding judge, submitted that the local government councils are statutorily responsible for issuing marriage certificates in Nigeria and restrained the ministry of interior from “further contracting marriages within the plaintiff’s local government council areas except marriages conducted in the marriage registries of Ikoyi, Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja”.

LAI MOHAMMED ON TWITTER FUNDING #ENDSARS PROTEST

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Prior to the Twitter ban in Nigeria on June 5, Lai Mohammed, minister of information, accused Twitter of “double standards” after the microblogging site deleted a tweet by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister further claimed that the social media platform funded #EndSARS protesters during the demonstrations against police brutality in 2020.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO at the time, was among the popular figures who backed Nigerians during the protest and retweeted the call for donation by a feminist coalition group.

TheCable’s fact-check, however, showed that there was no evidence to substantiate that Twitter or its former CEO actually funded the protest as claimed by the minister.

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FANI-KAYODE AND THE NON-EXISTENT MILITARY ATTACK

On September 7, Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, published a post on his verified Facebook page alongside some pictures where he claimed that the Nigerian Army had killed “bloodlusting murderous terrorists” in the northern part of the country.

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TheCable analysed the pictures shared by the former aviation minister and findings revealed that they were old pictures of other events, some of which did not happen in Nigeria.

DSS VS IGBOHO SAGA

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On July 1, the Department of State Services (DSS) said it recovered illegal arms, cash and charms from the home of Sunday Adeyemo, a youth leader better known as Sunday Igboho, during a raid by operatives of the agency in Ibadan, Oyo state capital.

Attached to the information were pictures of the arms — including seven AK-47 rifles — charms and other items taken from Igboho’s house.

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However, some social media users claimed that the pictures posted by the DSS were old images uploaded on Facebook in 2013.

TheCable’s fact-check revealed that the pictures had not appeared online before the DSS shared them. Hence, they were not old pictures being recirculated.

COVID VACCINE AND THE ELECTRIC BULBS

Some videos were circulated on the internet where some individuals who allegedly received the COVID vaccine claimed that when a LED bulb is placed against the spot where the vaccine is injected, it lights up.

The claim stated that the COVID vaccine contains ingredients that make a bulb produce electricity.

A fact-check by TheCable showed that the COVID vaccine does not contain any implant and therefore cannot light up electrical bulbs.

FAKE VIDEO OF BOKO HARAM CONVERTING RESIDENTS

In May, an alleged video of Boko Haram insurgents “forcefully” converting residents of Niger to Islam was circulated on social media. In the viral video, many residents especially women could be seen gathered in what appeared to be a remote location.

TheCable, however, found out that the video emanated from Kolia, a town in Ivory Coast.

Abubakar Bello, governor of Niger, also debunked the video, describing it as misleading.

KANO TO BAN WOMEN FROM DRIVING?

In July, a viral report claimed the Kano government was planning to draft a bill prohibiting women from driving vehicles in the state.

The report trended on social media and was widely shared.

But the state government refuted the claim, describing it as unsubstantiated and lacking in credibility.

THAT PHOTOSHOPPED FRONT PAGE ON UZODIMMA

In August, a purported front-page publication of THISDAY newspaper alleged that Hope Uzodimma, governor of Imo, had declared “free marriages” between Fulani settlers and Imo ladies. The report credited to the newspaper was widely publicised on social media platforms and instant messengers.

Reacting to the claim, Eniola Bello, managing director of THISDAY, said the newspaper never published the story in question, adding that a digital copy of the newspaper was manipulated.



This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.

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