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No, UN not ‘unsure of any Covid-19 in Nigeria’ – country has more than 870 cases 

The headline of an article on the website Maymaygist claims the United Nations has said it is “not sure of any Covid-19 in Nigeria”. 

The 7 April 2020 article has been shared on Opera News and Facebook.

The article appears to be copied, almost word-for-word, from the opening paragraphs of an article published in the Vanguard newspaper on 6 April. 

But the headline was changed from “Effect of Covid-19 Pandemic on Nigeria, still unclear – UN” to the very different “We are not sure of any Covid-19 in Nigeria: UN”. 

Vanguard was reporting on the launch of a Nigeria-UNAids Covid-19 basket fund. Here UN resident and humanitarian coordinator in Nigeria, Edward Kallon, expressed concern about the true magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. This was widely reported by mainstream media in the country.

But there is no evidence that Kallon – or any other UN representative – said the UN was uncertain whether there were any cases of Covid-19 in Nigeria, as the Maymaygist headline suggests.

‘Highly misleading’ headline

Ngele Ali of the UN Development Programme in Nigeria told Africa Check the article’s headline was “ highly misleading”. 

“There is no time or place the UN has made claims that there is no Covid-19 in Nigeria. The Resident coordinator’s remarks have been misquoted,” Ali said.

She sent us Kallon’s speech from 6 April, which she said was shared with all journalists at the launch of the fund. We found nothing in the speech to support the false headline. 

Nigeria has more than 870 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and 28 people have died from the disease. – Motunrayo Joel


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