President Muhammadu Buhari’s Special Adviser on Social Media, Lauretta Onochie, has been caught in another fake news storm as she took to her Twitter account to make a false accusation against former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday, December 4, 2018.
The president’s media aide took to her account on Monday to allege that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) shared food plus a cash handout of N500 to Nigerians who attended his inaugural campaign rally in Sokoto on Monday, December 3.
Lauretta posted a picture showing N500 notes attached to several packs of food and captioned it, “KEEP THEM IN POVERTY, THEN GIVE THEM HANDOUTS – ATIKU in Sokoto yesterday”.
She further took to her official Facebook account to post, “That’s why they are angry about our poverty alleviation programme, the Social Investment Programmes that empower traders, small and medium entrepreneurs and the poor, to improve their earnings and have better standards of living.”
In another Twitter post where she attached the same image, Lauretta accused Atiku of looting billions, buying the PDP candidacy with billions and spending “millions of dollars chasing impossible forgiveness from America”.
“Plans to scrap the poverty alleviation programmes of the Muhammadu Buhari administration so he can continue to insult Nigerians,” she wrote.
Social media commenters didn’t waste time to point out to the presidential aide that the picture she used to make the allegation was actually an image that was first used in February 2017.
The food packs and N500 notes were part of the gifts that a certain actress, Ruth Eze, donated to poor people in Ajegunle, Lagos as part of her Valentine’s Day activities on February 14, 2017.
A simple Google Image Search showed several results of the image being used previously before Atiku’s rally on Monday.
A second strike
This is not the first time that the outspoken presidential aide has been caught up in a fake news storm.
In September 2018, she was publicly ridiculed for using a random stock image as proof of the construction work being done by Buhari’s administration on the Nasarawa-Jos road. She later apologised for the tweet.
The indiscriminate spread of fake news is a major concern ahead of the 2019 presidential election which has been billed as a straight contest between Atiku and Buhari.