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FG confirms ICIR’s Fact Check on xenophobic viral videos, cautions celebrities, others

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THE Federal Government on Thursday reacted to fake videos circulating in the social media purported to be footage of Nigerians being attacked in South Africa, saying “Those who are circulating these videos should immediately desist from doing so.”

Minister  of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed at a press conference in Abuja urged Nigerians to be wary of such videos which have led to series of reprisal attacks by Nigerians on businesses believed to be owned by South Africans in Nigeria.

During the press conference, Mohammed cited three of such videos said to be footage of different attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The minister lamented that “apart from inflaming passion, the videos are also complicating the efforts of the government to calm frayed nerves at home in the wake of the xenophobic attacks in South Africa.”

He recalled that the Federal Government had  alerted Nigerians to the dangers posed by fake news and disinformation when it launched  National Campaign Against Fake News on July 11 2019.

This is coming about 48 hours after The ICIR published a Fact Check on videos trending in the social media and reported that they were not from the recent xenophobic attacks.

Explaining in details the three videos,  Mohammed said, “one of the videos shows a man who has been set ablaze trying to escape, and those circulating the video identified the man as Nigerian which is not true as the video was about one Mozambican Ernesto Alfabeto Nhamuave, a victim of xenophobic violence in South Africa in 2008, and it is not that of a Nigerian being attacked in 2019.

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“The second video shows those said to be Nigerians jumping down from a multi-storey building that was purportedly set on fire by xenophobic attackers in South Africa. This is fake news as the video is that of a Suraj Coaching Centre in Gujarat State, India, that was gutted by fire on May 24, 2019, leaving about 18 people dead.

“Similarly, the third video purportedly showing the bodies of Nigerians who were burnt in xenophobic attacks, is the raw footage of those who were killed in a Tanzanian fuel tanker explosion in Morogoro that left at least 60 dead on Aug. 10 2019.”

He urged those circulating the wrong videos to desist from such acts as it is capable of causing more havoc.

The minister appealed to opinion leaders and celebrities to watch their words as well as Nigerians who he said were ‘justifiably angry’ to stop carrying out a reprisal attacks.

He however, assured all Nigerians and foreigners that the government has put in place proper security measures to ensure the safety of lives and property in the country.

“Those who looted properties under the guise of protests would be arrested and prosecuted,” he concluded.

 

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