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The Two-Way
4:43 pm
Thu September 15, 2011

Nigeria Says To Its People: A Phone Call Can't Kill You

Nigeria's government had to step in, today, after a strange rumor started spreading across the country through text messages. The Nigerian Communications Commission issued a statement saying that receiving a call from the number 09141 cannot kill you.

The BBC reports that the text message warned that between seven and 10 people had died because of the phone call. The BBC adds:

"Technically, it is not possible for such a thing to happen. It is therefore unimaginable that somebody will die while receiving a call," commission spokesman Reuben Muoka said.

"It is only very gullible people that will believe such a rumour."

The AP reports this isn't the first time a text message campaign has caused panic in Nigeria:

Text message panics in Nigeria have included rumors of bombings and rumors that acid rain from seasonal dust storms can burn people alive. The campaigns are aided by poor education and lack of faith in the government.

A BBC reporter tried calling the number but got no answer. The AP called and reported that their call ended without any fatalities.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.