30 May 2019

South Africa: No, 20 Million Nigerians Not 'Headed to South Africa' After 'Secret Meeting'

Photo: Africa Check
No, 20 million Nigerians not ‘headed to South Africa’ after ‘secret meeting’

According to journalism training institute Poynter, stories on immigration are among the most fact-checked in the world. As an example, Poynter says, one in three stories reported to Spanish fact-checking site Maldito Bulo relates to immigration.

The UN migration agency's 2018 World Migration Report says there were 244 million migrants in the world in 2015, making up 3.3% of the global population.

The report says there has been "considerable rise in migration in certain parts of the world over the past few years". It also points out that "barely a day goes by without multiple media reports - whether in traditional or newer forms of media - focusing on aspects of migration, frequently on negative aspects".

Ramaphosa, Trudeau and Buhari in 'secret summit'

In April 2019 the Pro-Afrikaans Action Group, a South African organisation known as Praag, published a story in Afrikaans headlined Twintig miljoen Nigeriese immigrante op pad na Suid-Afrika - "20 million Nigerian immigrants on their way to South Africa". (Read Google's English translation of the article.)

It claims the migrants will arrive "within the next five years" following a "secret summit" between South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria.

The story was posted on Facebook, where a user flagged it as potentially false.

'It is disinformation'

"There is no grain of truth in this: it is disinformation," said David Hlabane, media manager for South Africa's department of home affairs.

On 13 May 2019 Africa Check debunked a similar hoax from Facebook that claimed Trudeau had "begged" Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to allow a million Kenyans to emigrate to Canada.

Another claim, that Trudeau had also "begged" for a million Nigerian immigrants, was published by CBTV in April 2019.

AFP Fact Check rated the claim as false. And Canada's embassy in Nigeria tweeted: "If you've seen this link on your social media timeline, don't fall for it. This story is not true. For REAL information about travelling to Canada, go to www.cic.gc.ca."

The claim of "millions" of migrants may have its origins in a 2018 announcement by the Canadian government indicating that they wanted to add a million permanent citizens over the next three years.

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