The national leader of the Jama’at Izalat al Bid’a Wa Iqamat as Sunna (JIBWIS), also known as the Izala Society, Sheikh Bala Lau, has demanded ₦100 Million compensation from Sahara Reporters for announcing that he had died.
Sahara Reporters had reported (on May 10th) that Sheikh Bala Lau had died and that social distancing guidelines were not adhered to at his funeral. The online news platform had posted pictures and videos of a crowded funeral as evidence that he had died and that social distancing guidelines had not been adhered to. Many Twitter users that responded to the tweet condemned northern Nigerians for disobeying social distancing rules.
However, many people that responded to Sahara Reporters’ tweet stated that the video and pictures were old and they accused Sahara Reporters of publishing fake news.
A follower of the Izala Society then posted a video of his video call to Sheikh Bala Lau in which the sheikh confirmed that he is alive. Sahara Reporters later deleted the tweet and the article from its website without publishing a retraction. They later published a story that another Izala leader had died, but they didn’t mention social distancing guidelines in that story.
The Sheikh, through his lawyers, has now demanded a compensation of ₦100 Million from Sahara Reporters.