Fact-check: Did Fictitious Organisations Support NITDA Bill?
Claim: In a report it dubbed as “fact check,” an online platform ITREALMS claimed that its “investigation” unraveled 12 fictitious stakeholders supporting the National Information Technology Development (NITDA) Bill 2022.
Full Statement: In its report, the blog claimed that some 12 fictitious stakeholder organisations out of the 17 purportedly supporting the Bill for the repeal of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Act also known as Senate Bill (SB-1082), are non-existent and not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
It went on to state that, “a fact-check by ITREALMS showed that for instance Schola IT Central does not exist or dully registered with Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), and thus not found in existence as at the time of filing this report.”
Other alleged “non-existent” organisations it claimed were not found on the CAC database as required by law, include Transparency Advocacy for Development Initiative; Sustainable Initiative for Nurturing Growth (SING); Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR); Heroic Discovery and Community Development Centre; Arewa Media for Sustainable Development; Digital African Youth Initiative; Youth and Civil Society Coalition Development (YCSCD) and Shettima Kyari Ali Tech and Identity Solutions Lab Limited.
Verification: To verify the authenticity of the claim, PRNigeria reached out to the respective organisations mentioned by ITREALMS to confirm if they are truly not operational and not registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as claimed by the self acclaimed digital news blog. In response, most of the organisations sent their CAC Certificates as proof of legal standing.
Based on the documents screened by PRNigeria fact-check desk, the Network of Advocates for Digital Reporting (NADIR) was officially incorporated in February 2023 with registration number 6880172 as against the claim by ITREALMS that it was an unregistered entity.
Further checks revealed that NADIR, a non-political organisation that counters misinformation and fake news and promotes digital inclusion and fact-checking to enhance positive narratives and digital literacy, has been active and existence since 2021 before it was officially registered with the CAC.
A simple online check revealed that in April this year, a serial award-winning journalist and fact-checker, Mohammed Dahiru Lawal, was appointed as Executive Secretary of the Network.
Also, Mansurah M Abdullah, the Chief Executive Officer of Heroic Discovery and Community Development Centre told PRNigeria fact-check desk that the organisation was incorporated in February 2014 with registration Number CAC/IT/NO 67586.
Besides the document she shared to support her claim, a simple online keyword check revealed a site map for the organisation, its registered presence with NG-Check and its affiliation with other NGOs like the Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN).
Furthermore, findings revealed that the North East ICT Development Initiatives was incorporated on the 11th day of November, 2021 as limited by guarantee with registration number 1859972 with Abdulrahman Barkindo Alkali as the Project Lead. It also has a registered domain http://www.neicti.com.ng but a click visit indicates that the site is currently under renovation.
Similarly, documents obtained from Zainab Abdulkadir, the Senior Program Officer, Digital African Youth Forum revealed that it was incorporated in March 2023 with registration number 68720162. An inquiry by PRNigeria into the record of the CAC corroborated the legal registration status and corresponding documents to be genuine.
Conclusion: Based on facts unravelled by PRNigeria and documents accessed in both the CAC record and founders of the affected organisations, the claim by ITREALMS that some stakeholder organisations supporting NITDA Bill 2022 are unregistered, is unreliable.
PRNigeria therefore concludes that the claim by ITREALMS that its “investigation” unraveled 12 fictitious stakeholders supporting the NITDA Bill 2022 is not only FALSE but also MISLEADING.
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