Fact Check

EFCC did not sentence 8 suspected internet fraudsters to death

Claim: A post on the Official EFCC Instagram account alleged that the commission sentenced eight suspected internet fraudsters to death. 

This claim that the EFCC sentenced eight suspected internet criminals to death is misleading and a clear misinterpretation from Instagram’s translator. 

Full Text 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), established in 2003, is an executive body charged with enforcing law on finance-related crimes.

This body adheres to its establishment Act of 2004 which confers on the commission the power to investigate and arrest offenders. 

Recently, the screenshot of a post by the EFCC (@officialefcc) went viral on WhatsApp. This Instagram post claims eight individuals accused of cyber crime in Ilorin have been sentenced to death.

‘EFCC in Ilorin has sentenced eight people to death for cyber crimes,’ part of the post reads. 

The post identified the offence and names of the suspects.

Screenshot of the post being shared on WhatsApp.

Is the penalty for internet fraud death? This question prompted us to look into this claim. 

Verification

Dubawa first traced the commission’s page on Instagram and found the original post. The original post was written in Igbo language, requiring a non-Igbo speaking user to use the artificial translator on Instagram to get the content of this post.

Screenshot of the Original post in Igbo. 
Screenshot of the post with the translation.  

We observed that the screenshot shared on WhatsApp was that of the translated version of the post.

This translated version on Instagram had attracted a lot of criticism from the public. An Instagram user went as far as saying ‘the account was under attack.’

We also observed from the comment section that some users who understood Igbo noted there was an error.

One user noted that the translation had a typographical error, adding that the original message was ‘EFCC has arrested 8 suspects of internet crimes.’

Another user also said it was the fault of the translator. 

Screenshot of the comment section under the translation. 

This prompted us to get a human translator who confirmed that in the original text (Igbo), there was nothing like a death sentence but of an arrest made by the EFCC. 

Also, a keyword search on this led to a report by  Channels Television in English. This report noted that eight persons were arrested over alleged involvement in cyber fraud. 

Screenshot of Channels TV report. 

Conclusion 

Our findings show that the post announced the arrest of eight suspects of cyber or internet crime in Ilorin. Normally, the EFCC does not have a judicial function, only investigation and prosecution. The EFCC did not pronounce a death sentence. This makes the translation in the  viral screenshot misleading. 

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