Coronavirus (1370) Attacking Gates, attacking vaccines: How conflict, religion and conspiracy theories drive COVID-19 misinformation in Nigeria

25 September, 2021

Extracts below from a news item in The Guardian (Nigeria). Read online:


'Since the beginning of the pandemic, local conspiracy theories connected to Bill Gates have circulated in Nigeria. Last year a false rumour by The Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP) spread online in Nigeria and internationally that Gates had bribed the Nigerian government $10 million to pass a law to test vaccines on children.

'False messaging of this nature is often successful because it builds on the high levels of mistrust for authorities that are already commonplace in Nigeria. According to Transparency International, Nigerian politicians are some of the most corrupt in the world. These rumours are made more believable to Nigerians because in 1996, Pfizer – the company behind one of the world’s most prominent Covid-19 vaccines – did undertake a drug trial on Nigerian children during which 11 children died, and dozens were left disabled...

'An equally complicated and important aspect to the spread of Bill Gates and COVID-19 conspiracy theories is the way it plays into the violent conflicts currently taking place in parts of the country...'


Best wishes, Neil

Neil Pakenham-Walsh, HIFA Coordinator,