Factchecked Claims From The 2019 Elections

On Saturday, the 23rd of February 2019, the long-awaited Presidential, Senatorial and House of Representatives election held in different polling units all over the country. As expected, several claims circulated on Facebook, Whatsapp and Twitter on the election day and some days after. With the aid of our observers deployed to every State in Nigeria, we were able to fact-check some of these claims.

Here’s a list of the claims we fact-checked in an easily shareable format

CLAIM 1 –  A viral video on YouTube claims that a man was burnt alive in Lagos for disrupting the elections today


EVIDENCEOur observers confirmed that the alleged incident occurred in Oshodi/Isolo Local Government, Lagos West Senatorial District and it was not the case of a man burnt alive! Rather, a rider was beaten mercilessly and his motorbike burnt by the residents for trying to disrupt the voting process. As at the time of this report it was said that he was in the custody of the police.


CLAIM 2 – Already thumb printed ballot papers and boxes were burnt in Ago area, Okota, Lagos.


EVIDENCE: A PTCIJ observer, in the person of Kemi Adelagun, as well as video/ pictures, show that ballot boxes in Ago Palace Polling unit, Okota Area, Lagos State, were actually burnt by some thugs!


CLAIM 3 –  A Whatsapp video with the caption ‘‘Olayinka Okoh, a brother to Ladi Hassan, Former chief of staff to Bukola Saraki was arrested for impersonating an INEC official in Balogun Alanamu PU 001, Ilorin Kwara State ’’ is circulating.


EVIDENCE: Alfred Olufemi, a PTCIJ observer in Kwara State confirmed that the incident NEVER occurred. And that In fact, votes were about to be counted in that very polling unit! We also reached out to the police spokesperson, Peter Okasanmi, who refuted the claim as well.


CLAIM 4 – A Facebook post says, ‘‘ A youth corp member thumbprinting for PDP has been caught And arrested at Ibadan North Collation Center’’. The post includes a photo of a lady.


EVIDENCE: At the said CollatIon center, there was confirmation that some corp members and some other ad-hoc staff were arrested with thumb printed ballot papers. However, the picture used with the post is unrelated. This is because they were all men and no arrest of a lady was made with them. Also, there were no bushes or flowers within the premises of the Collation center as indicated in the picture. The Army as at the time of reporting confirmed to us that all arrested persons were in custody of  DSS.


CLAIM 5 A Facebook post says, ‘‘BREAKING NEWS!!! PDP Oyo Senatorial Candidate, Kola Balogun caught with result sheets, including already thumbing printed ballot papers at the Lagelu Grammar School Collation center.”


EVIDENCE: According to Ibraheem Taofeek, a PTCIJ Observer, who went to the said collation center, said it was FALSE. Also, INEC Officials, security personnel and a corp member all attest to the falsity of the claim, insisting that it never occurred. In fact, the center was currently under the guard of security men.


CLAIM 6 A Whatsapp post reads: ‘‘According to Situation Room, 18 people died on Saturday, due to election violence. To follow Nigeria News on Duta: Add to your group +919087047935- at 20:14 pm on Sunday, 24th February 2019.”


EVIDENCE: The Twitter handle of the Situation Room – a coalition of civil society groups who monitor and provide updates on the election – at the time of this message, shows that about 16 people have died across eight States from election-related violence: Borno-2; Bayelsa-2; Rivers-6; Yobe-2; Kohi-2; Ebonyi-2; and Zamfara-1.

Also, it was discovered that the phone number of ‘‘Duta’’ is different from what is on the website. DUBAWA alerted the company about this post.


CLAIM 7– A Twitter post says, ‘‘Election turns bloody at Ajetachi Polling Unit, Anyigba, Kogi State… 18-year-old voter just lost his life to stray bullets from thugs. – ElectionNotWar’’.


EVIDENCE: Olalekan Melaye, a PTCIJ Observer in Kogi State has confirmed from the police spokesperson that a young student of Kogi State University was actually shot dead by unknown gunmen while he was exercising his civic duty. The young man was said to be on the queue when he was hit by a bullet.


CLAIM 8 A Whatsapp post reads: “Schools in Lagos State have a public holiday tomorrow, February 25. This may also extend to parastatals’’. –at 21:11 pm on Sunday, 24th February 2019


EVIDENCE: There were no media reports on this matter, also the official Twitter handle of Lagos State Government confirmed that there would be a public holiday the next day. Also, the commissioner for information, Lagos Kehinde Bamigbetan, informed us that he was unaware of the said holiday.

Perhaps it was a case of mistaken identity as Leadership newspaper reported that all public and private Schools would be on break on the said day in ‘’Oyo State’’,  not in Lagos!


CLAIM 9 –  A Twitter post says,’’Let it be known that elections were not held in the following PUs in Kaduna State. INEC did not go there at ALL….’’ The poster went ahead to list the Polling Units.


EVIDENCE: Kemi Busari, a Premium Times reporter, confirmed that election materials reached the Kaduna South Local Government area and Chikun specifically, albeit Late. Also, elections were conducted in some PUS but we cannot confirm, at the moment, which PUs did not conduct elections.


CLAIM 10 –  A Twitter post says, ‘‘Rochas has declared a death sentence on the REC of IMO. He threatened that if the result is not released with his interest favored in 30minutes the REC is a deadman.”


EVIDENCE: Ebuka Onyeji, a Premium Times reporter, said that it was TRUE. He reported that a mild drama happened in the early hours of Monday, February 25, 2018, when the collation officer of Imo West Senatorial  District ( Professor Ibeabuchi of FUTO) suddenly stopped results from being collated; stating that he received ‘an urgent call’ to come to Owerri.But was stopped by the supporters of the candidate insisting he must announce the result, else he won’t go anywhere.


A new investigation has shown that the returning officer for Imo State, declared Rochas as the winner of the Senate seat. Mr Ibeabuchi said he was forced to declare the result at the Imo West election collation center in Orlu INEC office when Mr Okorocha stormed the collation center with unanticipated  police officers.]


CLAIM 11 – A Twitter post says “HAPPENING NOW! Minister of Interior Dambazzau and @elrufai currently locked. @inecnigeria’s Kaduna REC in the Government House, mounting serious pressure on him to alter the results of 8 LG @OfficialPDPNig won a landslide.


EVIDENCE: Kemi Busari, a Premium Times reporter confirmed that it was FALSE. Collation started at the State collation Center at 8 pm and by 2 am on the 25th of February, 2019 when the state collation was suspended, 13 Local Government results were already collated. In those LGAs, Atiku won 8 and Buhari won 5.


CLAIM 12 – AT Twitter post says, “Breaking News: Investigative Journalism carried out by some Fulani communities listed by @elrufai in his #Kajuru66 and # Kajuru130 claims don’t exist.”


EVIDENCE: Kemi Busari, a Premium Times reporter, who visited Kajuru Local Government Area said that some of El Rufai’s claims were true while some may not be. However, there is still no real proof that the Governor or any reporter is lying. Still under investigation ‘‘he said’’.


CLAIM 13 – A Whatsapp post says, ‘’CANAAN LAND POLLING UNIT: Winners Chapel Members betrayed Bishop Oyedepo APC 470 PDP15. The voice of the people is the voice of God.


EVIDENCE: Having checked through the list of Polling Units in the Database of INEC, there exists no polling unit named Cannanlad (the large piece of land that belongs to the Winners  Chapel Church in Ogun State). Neither is there any Polling Unit in Caananland. Rather, the area was under the Atan ward of Ado-Odo Ota LGA and the results have not been released.

No media has reported this News and we do not Know where the Cleric voted.


CLAIM 14 – A Twitter post says, “Breaking: Lagos is on fire with attacks on PDP strongholds, as I write this; Mushin, Papa Ajao and Oshodi is no go area. We have gotten reports of casualties he is the situation…’’


EVIDENCE: Taofeek Ajayi of PTCIJ said that YES, thugs did not let the Igbos in Oshodi – who predominantly live in the area – open their shops, though the original cause of the unrest was uncertain. It was speculated that it could be a reprisal attack following the results of the Polling centers in that area and the crisis that occurred in Ago Palace, Okota on Saturday. The Army claimed to be in control of the Situation as of that time, although shops are still locked. No casualty has been recorded. (This will be updated once we get more information on Mushin and Papa  Ajao)


CLAIM 15 – A Twitter post says ‘‘see shameless rigging by INEC Officials: thumb printing an industrial scale!’’ A video accompanies the post.


EVIDENCEVerification conducted on the Video using Youtube Data Viewer shows that the video first surfaced online in 2015. The Video seems to have originated from a Twitter user who posted the video on April 13, 2015, which was two days after the Governorship election. It had the caption ‘’THE OLONA RIGGING VIDEO’’ and in the video, a Female INEC ad-hoc staff can be seen thumb printing some papers.


CLAIM 16 – A Twitter post says, ‘’Breaking News; The INEC Official who changed KOGI WEST Senatorial Result Sheet in the favor of DINO MELAYE Arrested By DSS.


EVIDENCE: The DSS Spokesman, Peter Afunanya informed us that he was not aware of this development. None of our Observers in Kogi confirmed this news as well.


CLAIM 17 – A Video circulating online shows a Policeman being dragged by a crowd and a caption that reads: ‘’ Video of the Deputy  Commissioner of Police arrested by Civilians, d=for snatching collated results in the order of the Gov of Bayelsa State, in Brass LGA.


EVIDENCE: The Police Spokesperson in Bayelsa, Asinim Butswat, has confirmed that the Deputy Commissioner of Police of Police, Kola Okunola, was actually harassed by political thugs for not signing fake election results, not the other way round. The Acting IGP has conducted an on-the-spot assessment of the situation.

Also Prince Innocent, a PTCIJ Observer in Brass LGA confirmed the Police report. While he was there, he observed that the Police Officer was trying to settle a conflict between political agents in that LG when PDP and APC political agents from Nembe GA started causing mayhem.


(Disclaimer: These factchecks were done on the spot and were based on the information available at that time. Areas where there has been new information have been updated with the tagline: CORRECTION)

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