At a time when misinformation spreads like wildfire and fake news is being peddled daily, POLITICS NIGERIA, in its support for accountable media, has been fact-checking controversial claims capable of misleading the public.
CLAIM: A media report claimed that Nigeria’s finance minister, Zainab Ahmed announced that the government lost 700 billion Naira earmarked as COVID-19 Relief Funds to the fire outbreak that occurred at the Office of the Accountant-General in Abuja on Wednesday.
The report was posted by a news platform, Mystatenews, on Thursday evening.
Quoting the medium; “According to the finance minister, She said: We’re sorry about the incident occurred on Wednesday been 8th of April 2020, the government lost 700billion naira COVID-19 Relief Funds Due to the Fire outbreak, its caused a lot of damages in the office and we’re yet to investigate on what was the cause of the fire outbreak, I want to use this opportunity to appeal to the Nigerians most especially to the SouthEast and Southwest, government together we will help fight this virus,” The report stated.
The report has however generated varying comments on social media platforms and Websites.
VERIFICATION: Checks by POLITICS NIGERIA revealed that there are no records that Nigeria has received any 700 billion naira relief fund.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in its latest update, 19 billion Naira has been realised from the donations from the private sector. While it was true that fire gutted the Treasury House, the office of the Accountant-General of the Federation, on Wednesday, stated that there is no official report detailing any loss of funds to the inferno.
In fact, according to the spokesperson of the OAGF, Henshaw Ogubike, normal services and official business have been restored in the office of Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) barely 24 hours after the fire accident.
Meanwhile, the ministry of finance debunked the claim, saying Mrs. Ahmed did not grant a press conference or any interviews.
“No funds were lost in the fire at the Accountant Generals Office which was contained to two rooms. Donations are under N30b to date. This is pure mischief & should be disregarded.” the ministry wrote on its official twitter handle.
The general public should take note. @zshamsuna did not grant a press conference or any interviews. No funds were lost in the fire at the Accountant Generals Office which was contained to two rooms. Donations are under N30b to date. This is pure mischief & should be disregarded pic.twitter.com/vknWNWHOHS
— Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning (@FinMinNigeria) April 9, 2020
More so, Laolu Akande, the Senior Special Assistant to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, labelled it fake news.
“Seems like a deluge of Fake News. First, Finance Minister DID NOT say anything like this below & addressed no such press conference. NA FAKE O!” He posted on social media.
Seems like a deluge of Fake News. First, Finance Minister DID NOT say anything like this below & addressed no such press conference. NA FAKE O! pic.twitter.com/8q28W28L4v
— Laolu Akande (@akandeoj) April 10, 2020
VERDICT: The CLAIM that the Federal government lost 700billion naira COVID-19 Relief Funds to the fire outbreak is FALSE!