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No, Nigerian president of African Development Bank hasn’t stepped down amid US ‘pressure’

Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina has bowed to pressure and resigned as president of the African Development Bank, claims an article by the Nigerian newspaper Blueprint.

“Breaking: Adesina bows, ‘steps down’ as African Development Bank Boss,” its headline reads. The first paragraph says Adesina “will step back as African Development Bank boss after the regional bank agrees to probe him again following pressures from US president Donald Trump”.

The article has been shared on Facebook and is circulating on WhatsApp. Other websites have republished it. But has Adesina resigned from the bank?

US demands investigation

Adesina is up for re-election for another five-year term after being appointed as the multilateral bank’s eighth president in 2015.

The headline and first paragraph don’t support the rest of Blueprint’s article. Further down, the report speculates that he “may have to step back from the role until the probe is completed”.

The article credits Elombah, an online Nigerian newspaper, which has published exactly the same report with a different headline: “BREAKING: Akinwumi Adesina to step down as African Development Bank agrees to probe him.”

Neither article provides any evidence that Adesina has resigned. Both were published on 27 May 2020, and contain paragraphs copied word for word from a 25 May article on Al Jazeera. But here the headline reads: “US demands investigation into African Development Bank's decision.”

The articles come days after the United States, a shareholder in the bank, demanded an independent investigation after the bank cleared Adesina of whistleblower accusations of favouritism. He has also denied the allegations.

Adesina, board debunk claim

The bank’s website and official communication channels have no information about Adesina stepping down. The news doesn’t appear on Adesina’s Twitter timeline. In a statement published on 28 May, he says he is still in charge.

Niale Kaba, chair of the bank’s board, told the press on 28 May that no decision had been made about the US’s call for a fresh probe. – Allwell Okpi


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