Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu was inaugurated on May 29 as the 16th democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Since his inauguration, disinformation about Tinubu’s purported appointment and statements has been making the rounds on social media.
President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s inaugural speech about fuel subsidy caused a frenzy as queues returned to filling stations across the country; citizens who feared prices may skyrocket rushed to buy fuel for immediate or future use.
This is less than 24 hours after Tinubu took the oath of office as former president Muhammedu Buhari handed over to him.
The out-of-script subsidy removal part of Tinubu’s speech did not sit well with Nigerians as well as experts who expressed that the timing was wrong.
“Subsidy is gone”, Tinubu had blurted out, before a redress came afterwards.
But the snag seems to have spurred social media users to deliberately spread misleading information attributed to the president.
Factcheck Elections checks some of the viral disinformation seen on social platforms, especially on WhatsApp and Twitter.
‘Fake’ appointment claim
In a now-deleted Twitter post, a former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode announced the appointment of a former Lagos commissioner of information and strategy, Dele Alake as the new president’s spokesperson.
Alake, who spoke with TheCable on the issue, said the appointment claim is ‘fake news’.
Fake ‘breaking news’ graphics
The trend of disinformation on WhatsApp involves viral fake ‘breaking news’ graphics with the picture of Tinubu.
The headline in one of the graphics claims Tinubu said the monthly allowance of N30,000 given to members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) would be reduced.
In the same vein another claim Tinubu said ‘Our women must be married’.
It comes with a rider: ‘All single men above 28 must marry before this year ends’.
Another of such graphics shared on WhatsApp statuses and groups claims the new president declared fraudster free in the country. The ‘headline’ comes with a rider: “Is this really a news?”, asks commenter”.
Some people go further by attributing ridiculous ‘headlines’ to the news president such as ‘Sportybet is now a must in my administration’, ‘ Don’t pay any lady for sex’ etc.
FactCheckElections can confirm that President Tinubu did not make statements or quotes attributed to him
The ‘headline’ is designed using a website known as break your own news which allows visitors to create a news headline template.
It has a template to create headlines and tickers; users can also choose either a rectangular or square or portrait size. One can also add an image to make the graphics more real.
The app policy, however, noted that it’s not supposed to be used to create news headlines that could be misleading.
“This app is intended for fun, humour and parody – be careful what you make and how it may be shared. You should avoid making things which are unlawful, defamatory or likely to cause distress. Have fun and be kind!”, it noted on its page.
Factcheck Elections can confirm that the various graphics attributing quotes to President Tinubu are misleading and should be disregarded.