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Fact Check: Tomisin Ogunnubi, Nigerian teenager, did not win $1bn from Rise Initiative for tech app

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Many media outlets have claimed that 16-year old Tomisin Ogunnubi the Computer Science student passionate about technology as well as diversity and inclusivity beat 49,000 competitors to win $1 billion from Rise Initiative for an application she has built. Recall that she has cultivated skills in web and mobile development and worked with several languages and frameworks such as Javascript, Java and Python.

However, in a February 23 report, Face2Face Africa, a blog focused on showcasing African excellence, said Ogunnubi shocked the world when she beat 49,000 contestants from 170 countries to emerge as one of the winners of the $1billion. Black Facts, a blog dedicated to showing off African personalities, published the same report. Some Twitter users have also shared the claim with many Whatsapp users.

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Meanwhile,Ogunnubi’s Father added that indeed Tomisin did create a tracking app as part of a school project when she was 12 which got her national and international acclaim, but it was not because of the app that she alongside 100 other teenagers globally won the Rise award.

He also said, “Tomisin did not win $1 billion.”

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The $1 billion which the reports claimed Tomisin won was a pledge by Eric Schmidt, former Google chief executive officer (CEO), and his wife, Wendy, to “identify, develop and support 100 global talents working in service of others yearly.”

“Tomisin was among the first set of 100 teenagers. Tomisin is not the only winner from Nigeria. In a series of tweets on Tuesday, Yinka Ogunnubi, Tomisin’s father, debunked the claims, saying the circulating story presents a picture that is completely inaccurate.

He said his daughter won the Rise award in October 2021 at the age of 18 and not 16 as reported. In all, there were six Nigerian teenagers who won the award. These brilliant kids later organised a workshop to help other Nigerian kids on how to apply for and win subsequent Rise awards. It was their own way of giving back.”

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The story being circulated online reads: Meet Tomisin Ogunnubi, the 16-year-old Nigerian who beat 49,000 competitors to win $1 billion with her app.

Sixteen-year-old Nigerian tech kid, Tomisin Ogunnubi, shocked the world when she beat 49,000 contestants from 170 countries to emerge as one of the winners of the $1 billion Rise Initiative competition. She presented an app that could help track the precise location of lost children. “My Locator,” the app she developed, leverages the power of Google maps to track the minute-by-minute location of users.

As one of the 100 winners of the $1 billion cash prize, Tomisin received a scholarship to study abroad, mentorship, and career-shaping opportunities, as well as funding. It wasn’t surprising that her app emerged as one of the top picks of the competition, it attracted over one thousand downloads within a short period of time when it became public.

The app functions when users enter the contact details of their family and friends in the emergency box for instant tracking.

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