A post shared on Facebook in Nigeria claims the country’s minister of information, Lai Mohammed, said a Nigerian scientist would land on Mars by December 2021.
The post reads: “Nigeria scientist will land on Mars planet by Dec 2021. – Lai Mohammed.” It also shares a photo of Mohammed, next to an illustration of the red planet.
The rest of the post is in pidgin: “Abeg una believe say those scientists go come back alive?” It asks whether readers think the scientists will make it back alive.
But did Mohammed make this comment? We checked.
Mars landing not part of Nigeria’s planned space missions
The National Space Research and Development Agency is the regulatory authority for space science and technology activities in Nigeria.
It was set up in 2010 to “pursue the development and application of space science technology for the socio-economic benefits of the nation”.
Since then the agency has launched four satellites. But it does not list a Mars landing as one of its planned space missions.
No mention in mainstream media
The Facebook post gives no details of when and where Mohammed is alleged to have made the statement. This is often a red flag that a claim posted on social media is inaccurate.
There is also nothing like it on the website or social media handles of the ministry. And no credible news organisation in Nigeria reported on the minister saying anything like it, as you would expect if it were true.
There is no evidence the minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, said a Nigerian scientist would land on Mars by December 2021.
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