A journalist, Ayodeji Rotinwa, said his life is in danger after his picture was used to accompany a Facebook post allegedly made by a UK-based medical doctor confessing to deliberately allowing patients placed in his care in northern Nigeria to die.
Following the outrage that followed the killing of a Christian student, Deborah Samuel, in Sokoto, a man, Christopher Uche-Ayodeji, who claimed to be a medical doctor posted on Facebook that he deliberately allowed northern patients to die during his NYSC days.
The post by the supposed medical doctor drew the ire of some Muslims on social media who called for the head of the supposed medical doctor, whose true identity is yet to be verified. One of the posts used the photo of the journalist and misidentified him as the supposed medical doctor who made the inciting statement.
Mr Rotinwa, who is the deputy editor of “African Arguments, a pan-African publication”, said he has no ties with the supposed medical doctor.
Read the full statement below:
OPEN LETTER: I AM NOT CHRISOPHER UCHE-AYODEJI. HE DOES NOT EXIST.
I am currently the victim of dangerous misinformation. Last week, a mob attacked and killed a young woman In Sokoto on accusations of blasphemy against Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.)
After this attack, a yet to be identified doctor named Christopher UCHE-AYODEJI, based in Bauchi, claims he harmed Northerners during his NYSC year to avenge past attacks against Christians. He also claimed to be in the employ of University Hospital, Birmingham, which has since denied this claim. The Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria have also established they have no member by this name in their records.
Someone – who I don’t know – has now run with the story using MY PHOTO and claiming I am the said Christopher. I am NOT CHRISTOPER UCHE-AYODEJI.
My name is AYODEJI Rotinwa, a JOURNALIST & Deputy Editor, African Arguments, a pan-African publication on African politics, business and culture. I have been a journalist for 10+ years starting my career in THISDAY Newspapers and going on to be published by several prestigious international publications.
I HAVE NO TIES WHATSOEVER TO THIS NAME / PERSON. Yet, despite multiple reports to Facebook, and Twitter, posts bearing my picture are still spreading. A local newspaper has echoed this misinformation. Other newspapers even while intending to “debunk” this “news” continue to attach my photograph to the story, further spreading it. There have been calls and comments on these social media posts for me to be located and “brought to book”. I am being endangered by this misinformation: my safety, and reputation are on the line.
All for something I have absolutely nothing to do with. My face may be forever attached to this. As they say, the internet never forgets.
This is all coming at a very tense time in this country where religious intolerance and conflict are at an all-time high. Lives are at stake and have been lost. And mine inexplicably has been drawn into it. As journalists try to parse and communicate the facts and uncover misinformation and disinformation, it’s now quite unfortunate that I have also now become the news – in such a horrible way.
I urge all newspapers, and publications covering this story and everyone spreading or responding to it, to pause before doing so. There is a real, human cost to this. By continuing to use my photo in connection to this story, you continue to perpetuate the harm. PLEASE STOP.
Further, it is the haste to come to conclusions, to point fingers on one hand; and on the other, to stoke hate, cause division – that has led to where we are. There is no need to further sensationalize this.