Wednesday, July 6, 2022

FACT-CHECK: Did Bill Gates say $1.6bn invested in Nigerian economy yielded no result?

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Ibrahim Ramalan
Ibrahim Ramalan is a graduate of Mass Communications from the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria. With nearly a decade-long, active journalism practice, Mr Ramalan has been able to rise from a cub reporter to the exalted position of an editor; first as Arts Editor with the Blueprint Newspapers before resigning in 2019; second and presently as an Associate Editor of the Daily Nigerian online newspaper. He can be reached via [email protected], or www.facebook.com/ibrahim.ramalana, or @McRamalan on Twitter.
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CLAIM: A photo-montage with text, reading “I have invested $1.6 billion in the Nigerian economy with no result – Bill Gates” is being circulated on WhatsApp, a free messaging and video calling app.

This claim has been generating a hot political debate among various WhatsApp groups, with some users attributing the comment to the woeful performance of the government at the centre.

Gates is an American business magnate, software developer, investor and philanthropist renowned for founding Microsoft and his philanthropic activities through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, personal donations and charity sport events.

VERIFICATION:

The montage also has beneath, the text an image, which a search on Yandex.com revealed to be a picture of Richard Quest, an editor-at-large of CNN Business, and a CNN news bar “Bill Gates publicly rebukes Nigeria’s leaders” serving a rider to the claim.

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Meanwhile, a web search by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) of the text “I have invested $16 billion in Nigeria’s economy with no result – Bill Gates” popped up a report on Vanguard Newspaper with the headline “Bill Gates spends $1.6 billion in Nigeria.

The text alleged that Gates reportedly said this during his visit to Nigeria in 2018, but without any reference in the report whatsoever, to where he said the investment yielded no result.

In his interview with CNN after the visit, the only acknowledged tough talk by the American billionaire was for Nigeria’s leaders to “face facts” so they could make progress.

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The philanthropist was quoted to have told a roomful of Nigeria’s government elite that included the President Muhammadu Buhari, that “while it may be easier to be polite, it’s more important to face facts so that you can make progress.”

This claim that Gates invested with no result is always promoted during General Elections’ period in Nigeria, the first time it appeared on Facebook being April 8, 2018, about 10 months to the 2019 polls.

The claim is being re-circulated again nine months to the 2023 elections, and three years after Daily Trust Newspaper carried out a similar fact check on the claim.

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Verdict:

The claim is FALSE. Analysis shows that, while Bill Gates said he had invested $1.6 billion in Nigeria, he never said the investment was with no result.

The claim is, observably, doctored to score political points against the ruling party.

NAN

thisday newspaper

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