That moment when President was 'killed' by the internet

As President Buhari was rumoured dead last weekend, the internet was found to be bearer of bad news as usual

A mischievous prankster immediately set out to work and pronounced President Muhammadu Buhari dead.

The prankster was armed with an internet connection, a laptop, clear skies somewhere abroad and a wicked grin.  These days, that's all you need to start a war.

"Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari dies in London", read the caption of a story published in metro-uk.com.

Within minutes, the story of Buhari's "death" had assumed a life of its own.

A few blogs were running with the story and quoting the same mysterious "aide" metro had named in its story.

The story was of course a lie. But in the age of 'fake news', everything goes.

Back at Pulse, we handed the story short shrift because it was as fake a news story as they come.

In a corner of the Presidential Villa in Aso Rock, Senior Special Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu reached for his phone.

It was a few minutes past midnight on the West Coast.

Shehu was as puzzled as everyone else because before metro went to town with its story, the Villa media team had been in constant communication with the President.

Shehu didn't know whether to laugh or cry. So, he told a friend to look out for his next tweet.

Villa sources were sure that the news was planted by persons loyal to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Kaduna State Governor Nasir El-Rufai had labelled these persons "Jonathanians", back in the day.

24 hours earlier, Jonathanians were alleged to have planted another story which stated that Goodluck Jonathan had been invited for the Donald Trump inauguration while incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari had been snubbed.

That story was a lie as well.

Villa sources say the story was planted to diminish Buhari.

Jonathan was spotted in Ogun State playing a game of 'Ayo' with another former President Olusegun Obasanjo; at the same time he was reported to be attending the inauguration in Washington DC.

Shehu went for his Twitter app on his smartphone and smiled. Again.

He had told a few friends that he wouldn't be sparing the "Jonathan camp" whom everyone at the Villa believed was responsible for the "Buhari is dead" rumours.

"Buhari is alive and well! President Buhari is not magical. He cannot be holidaying in theand be in dead or alive at the same time", Shehu tweeted.

It was a jibe. But one more was on its way.

"He is unlike a past President who was at with Chief Obasanjo and attending the Trump inauguration in D.C, being in two places at the same time!"

In Twitter parlance, Shehu's tweet is called a sub--short for subliminal.

The presidential aide had just invited outrage onto his TL and the knives from the Twitter mob needed no second invitation to emerge from their sheaths.

Earlier, another presidential media aide, Tolu Ogunlesi, had had to deal with the mob when he sent out the following 'bant':

And this tweet above Shehu's.

'They' shouldn't have any energy left to come at you, Sir. I believe they spent it all coming at me earlier today", Ogunlesi tweeted.

Ogunlesi never shies away from immersing self in Twitter banter, even as a presidential aide.

Hours later, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said he had just spoken with the President.

"Spoke tonight on phone with President Muhammadu Buhari who's on vacation, reviewing local and other developments including situation," Osinabjo said.

Moments later, President Buhari joined in on the act of dispelling rumours of his death:

"Wherever I am, I keep up with news from home. is one of my favorites. I'm proud of what the Nigerian media are achieving".

Well, the picture of your President watching Channels TV should be enough to assure you that he isn't dead, right?

Except that this Twitter user wasn't impressed:

It's not the first time a Nigerian President has been rumoured dead.

Obasanjo endured a similar rumour as democratic President back in the day and Buhari was rumoured dead or dying during the 2015 electioneering campaign.

On May 5, 2010, Nigeria's 13th President, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, passed away in office.

President Buhari's aides have said their principal only embarked on the trip to the UK for a routine medical checkup.

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