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Nigeria’s info minister said voters only interested in freebies from politicians? No evidence for quote

IN SHORT: A quote that has information minister Lai Mohammed saying Nigerian voters are only interested in handouts, and not in the governing party’s record, is false.

A quote circulating on Facebook has Nigeria’s information minister Lai Mohammed saying the country’s people are only looking for “stomach infrastructure”.

The posts read: “We have given Nigerians infrastructure and they are looking for stomach infrastructure, we can not afford that - Lai Mohammed.”

Mohammed is a minister under the governing All Progressives Congress, which is hoping to be re-elected based on its time in office since 2015.

Stomach infrastructure” is local slang for politicians attracting votes by giving out money and food during election seasons. 

Nigeria’s 2023 general elections are slated for February and March.

But did Mohammed really insult Nigerians in this way? We checked. 


The quote can’t be found

None of the posts give details about when and where the minister made the statement. This lack of detail about controversial statements is often a red flag. 

We scoured the information ministry’s website and social media pages looking for the quote and came up empty. 

And no credible Nigerian news outlets have reported it.

With the elections only a few weeks away, many false statements are being attributed to key political figures. This could harm people’s ability to make informed choices during the vote. 

Read our analysis of this disinformation trend – and nine others – in the country ahead of the elections.

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