Buhari's US Trip is 'Fake and Ludicrous' News - FG Clears the Air

President Muhammadu Buhari 

The Federal Government, yesterday, dismissed an online report, that President Muhammad Buhari is headed to the United States of America, ostensibly on the invitation of President Donald Trump.

The report further claimed that the invitation was extended to Buhari, in February, shortly after Trump’s inauguration in January.

But, in a statement through the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the Federal Government debunked the report and branded it fake news.

Mohammed, said one of the numerous parody Twitter accounts in his name, @MohammedLai, was used to disseminate what he described as ‘fake and ludicrous’ news, which claimed that President Buhari is due to leave Nigeria for the USA, today, “to condole with President Trump over the floods in Houston, Texas.”

According to the report, the president was scheduled to leave his hometown, Daura, in Katsina State, by helicopter, at 9.15am, today, for the state’s airport.

It was also reported that Buhari was to combine the official visit to the US with his participation at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in New York, from September 21 to 25, 2017.

When the reports surfaced, many questioned the rationale behind the planned visit especially as Makurdi, in Benue State, was hit with flood and many properties destroyed. But, Mohammed dismissed the report.

“News of the planned visit was circulated via a parody Twitter account and an old NTA news video that President Muhammadu Buhari is traveling or has travelled to the US.

‘’This is a 2015 NTA news video that was repackaged to look current, and to give the impression that the president left Daura, where he is celebrating Eid-el-Kabir, directly for New York.”

He said Nigerians should disregard any news credited to any account in his name, either on Twitter or Facebook, and added: ‘’Numerous parody accounts have been opened in my name on the two platforms, when, indeed, I have no Twitter or Facebook accounts.’’

The minister recalled how the same parody Twitter account disseminated a fake report that he sharply criticised Senator Dino Melaye for attending NottingHill Carnival in the United Kingdom.

He said these two instances highlight the dangers posed to the polity by purveyors of fake news and disinformation and vowed that the federal government would soon fish out those behind the shenanigan.

“Fake news, disinformation and hate speech are the antics of the naysayers, those who are pathologically opposed to this administration. That is why we are urging Nigerians to be more discerning and to doublecheck any information emanating from social media,’’ Mohammed added.

Also, the president’s Special Assistant on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, through her Twitter handle, @Laurestar, said her boss had no plans to travel to the US.

“It’s not true that President Muhammadu Buhari is set for a US trip today. “President Buhari always inform Nigerians of his trips, even within Nigeria. He respects Nigerians. He will not sneak out without informing those who elected him to do a job,” she added.
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