Traditionally, statements from Aso Rock are often taken by the media and Nigerians as statements of fact.
However, the present administration has betrayed this expectation thrice in less than two weeks with at least three different misleading statements.
FIRST MISLEADING CLAIM: ‘UAE BAN LIFTED IS IMMEDIATELY’
Firstly, on Monday, September 11, 2023, Ajuri Ngelale, the Special Adviser on Media & Publicity to President Bola Tinubu, issued a statement claiming that the United Arabs Emirates (UAE) had lifted a visa ban it imposed on Nigerians.
However, the presidential spokesperson was on Channels TV the next day trying to clean up the misleading statement.
The UAE had in October 2022 banned Nigerians and 19 other African nationalities from obtaining its visas.
This decision was made during the administration of former President Muhammadu Buhari.
During a visit to the UAE in September 2023, the new president, Tinubu, lobbied the Middle eastern country’s president, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, to lift the ban.
Ngelale disclosed that the president’s meeting was a success, saying the visa ban was lifted with “immediate effect.”
He said both Etihad Airlines and Emirates Airlines were to “immediately resume flight schedules into and out of Nigeria without any further delay.”
“As negotiated between the two heads of state, this immediate restoration of flight activity, through these two airlines and between the two countries, does not involve any immediate payment by the Nigerian government,” the statement reads.
STATE HOUSE PRESS RELEASE
PRESIDENT TINUBU @officialABAT SECURES LANDMARK DEAL WITH UNITED ARAB EMIRATES ACROSS SECTORS; VISA BAN ON NIGERIAN TRAVELERS IS LIFTED IMMEDIATELY
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and President of the United Arab Emirates, Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, on… pic.twitter.com/YGq0HCcghY
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 11, 2023
However, this claim turned out to be false.
While the UAE’s readout of the meeting between Tinubu and Al Nahyan made no mention of the visa ban being lifted, a UAE official told CNN that the ban was yet to be lifted.
On Friday, September 15, 2023, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Tuggar, clarified that Nigeria’s agreements with the UAE are “still a work in progress” and not “immediately” effective as Ngelale claimed.
SECOND MISLEADING CLAIM: ‘PRESIDENT TINUBU FIRST AFRICAN LEADER TO RING CLOSING BELL AS NASDAQ‘
On Thursday, September 22, 2023, Ngelale issued another false statement claiming that Tinubu was the first African leader to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ during a “historic” visit.
The Nigerian leader, who is in New York, United States (US) for the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), was at the NASDAQ Stock Market on Tuesday evening, September 20, 2023, on the invitation of the US Chamber of Commerce.
After addressing the chamber and wooing investors to come to Nigeria, Tinubu rang the closing bell at the stock market.
The presidency promptly described the visit as “historic” and the bell-ringing as “first by an African Leader”.
In honour of President @OfficialABAT's determined global push to aggressively attract foreign direct investment into Nigeria, the world's second largest stock exchange, the National Association of Securities Dealers Automatic Quotation System (NASDAQ), on Wednesday in the world's… pic.twitter.com/LFWqeSmS8M
— Presidency Nigeria (@NGRPresident) September 21, 2023
However, checks by Eko Hot Blog revealed that the presidency misled Nigerians by claiming that Tinubu was the first African leader to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ.
In fact, 12 years ago, on September 21, 2011, President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete of Tanzania rang the closing bell at NASDAQ.
Also, on July 14, 2018, a South African delegation led by UN ambassador Jerry Matjila rang the closing bell of NASDAQ in honour of the late former president Nelson Mandela‘s centenary birthday celebrations around the world.
PRESIDENT JONATHAN HAD HIS OWN “HISTORIC” MOMENT
President Goodluck Jonathan has had his own bell-ringing moment in New York, but not at NASDAQ.
On September 23, 2013, the former president rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.
A WORRYING PATTERN OF LIES
Meanwhile, the NASDAQ false statement from the presidency came just hours after the president’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Dada Olusegun, shared fake news that the president’s son, Seyi Tinubu, donated N15 million to the son of late Nigerian singer, Ilerioluwa Aloba, better known as MohBad.
Olusegun deleted the fake screenshot of a bank alert shortly after people close to the younger Tinubu denied he made such a donation.
PRESIDENCY BACKTRACKS ON FALSE CLAIMS
On Friday afternoon, in the process of filing this report, the presidency released a statement apologising about the false claim President Tinubu was the first African leader to ring the closing bell at NASDAQ.
It said the claim was made based on the information provided by a third-party event organiser.
“We inadvertently referred to President Bola Tinubu as the first African leader to ring the bell at NASDAQ on Wednesday in New York, based on the information provided by a third-party event organiser,” the statement reads.
“We have since found out that this information was/is incorrect as a former African leader has indeed had the privilege.
“This error is sincerely regretted.”
PRESIDENT TINUBU AT NASDAQ
We inadvertently referred to President Bola Tinubu as the first African leader to ring the bell at NASDAQ on Wednesday in New York, based on the information provided by a third-party event organiser.
We have since found out that this…
— Daddy D.O🇳🇬 (@DOlusegun) September 22, 2023
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