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How a top Nigerian bishop got caught up in fake news

In our series of letters from African writers, Nigerian novelist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani reflects on the impact that fabricated news stories can have.


Nigeria's popular ThisDay newspaper recently published a story headlined: "Drama as US Embassy Denies Bishop Oyedepo Visa".


It described how David Oyedepo, founder of Winners' Chapel, and one of Nigeria's revered and influential religious leaders, allegedly threw a tantrum at the US consulate in Lagos after he was refused a visa.


According to the story, the bishop was "obviously flustered". It quoted an unnamed source as saying that the religious figure had "immediately sent for his bodyguards to get his phones so he could make some calls".


In a country where religious leaders are celebrities, and their every action or inaction scrutinised, the detailed story quickly went viral.

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Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani David Oyedepo Nigeria Nigerian US

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