Fact-Check: Is Photograph Showing Mass People Trekking Due to Subsidy Removal Recent?

Fact-Check: Is Photograph Showing Mass People Trekking Due to Subsidy Removal Recent?

  Verdict: Misleading   FULL STORY A viral WhatsApp message shows a picture of people trekking purportedly as a result of the hike in the fuel price occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy announced by the current government. The post gave an impression of mass number of people walking to and from their destination

 

Verdict: Misleading

 

FULL STORY
A viral WhatsApp message shows a picture of people trekking purportedly as a result of the hike in the fuel price occasioned by the removal of fuel subsidy announced by the current government. The post gave an impression of mass number of people walking to and from their destination when it declared: ‘The Trek – a – thon has started’.

 
The Nigerian President, on the 29th May, 2023, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his inaugural address made a major policy pronouncement that took a new turn in the country when he said:  ‘Fuel subsidy is gone’.

 
This pronouncement has resulted in about 100% increase in the prices of transportation, leaving so many people stranded and walking a few miles to work.  This development has generated a lot of information disorder and suspicious manipulation of contents in the social media.

 
One of them was a viral WhatsApp picture which was also used by several social media users like @getmotivedng on 31st May,  2023, who said:

 
This is Tinubu’s Nigeria. People r trekking home after work cuz they can’t afford transport cost, that is if u even see bus that will convey u home. When the wicked r in power, the people suffer. Na INEC put everyone into this o. Don’t forget to curse  INEC chairman every midnite.

The tweet has gained 378k views,  3,156 retweets, 165 quotes and 6,398 likes.

An  elite activist Adeola Soetan has also used the picture, attached to his recent article on fuel subsidy removal on facebook.

 

But what is the authenticity of this picture?  This we verified.

 
Verification: 

We sought to use the Google reverse image Lens to investigate the picture, The results show that there have been similar use of the picture in the past. See the results below:

 
The result shows that this picture first appeared in March 2018 when the erstwhile President of Nigeria came to Lagos state on a visit. It was used in a publication by the Punch newspaper, Legit.ng  and tribuneonline.

Screenshot from Newspaper websites

 
It is worth noting that the image was a movement restriction around the airport and other parts of the city due to the visit of President Muhammadu Buhari to Lagos in 2018 during the inauguration of  the newly constructed Ikeja Bus Terminus among other engagements.

 
Hence, we noticed that this image has been used in different news, posts and comments in recent times. The most recent of it all was a twitter user @getmotivedng on 31st May 2023 who tweeted and attached the same picture that has been seen to be old and not recent as at when she posted it.

 
Others who have made use of the image are seen here, and  here

 
Conclusion: 

Having carefully investigated the image making the rounds on WhatsApp status and social media, findings show that the picture depicts the image of people trekking during the visit of the former President Buhari to Lagos in March 2018 and not as a result of the hardship accompanying the fuel subsidy removal period.

 

 

 

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