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No! Babangida didn’t warn Tinubu of possible military coup in Nigeria amid hardship

Claim: Ibrahim Babangida, former head of state, hinted at a proposed military takeover in Nigeria amid the economic hardship in the country.  

Verdict: Misleading! Babangida does not manage the account. It is a parody account.

Full Text

Many reactions have trailed the economic reforms introduced by the Bola Tinubu administration. Nigerians on social media have complained about the increasing cost of food items in the country. 

Beyond online rants, some Nigerians have taken to the streets to express their displeasure over the government’s recent policies that have contributed to increased hunger and economic hardship for the masses. 

On Monday, some Ibadan state residents took to the streets to protest. They carried placards bearing varying inscriptions such as: “End food hike and inflation,” “Insecurity, not our birthright,” “Mr President, this is not the hope, this is Shege.”

The Ibadan protest followed a similar demonstration in Minna, Niger State, a few weeks earlier over the rising cost of living.

A market survey by Premium Times established the cause of the groanings as it revealed the hike in the prices of food items over the past few months. 

In recent weeks, social media has been inundated with touching stories of how Nigerians are grappling with the situation. 

However, some social media users have also taken the opportunity to circulate fake and misleading claims. 

An X user identified as @General_Ibbro (Ibrahim B. Babangida) lent his voice to the conversation, hinting at a supposedly proposed military takeover. 

The tweet reads, “I am not in support of the proposed Military take over; but I will urge the FG to come into Nigerians’ aid before it finally turns into a pandemic.”

The tweet has been viewed over 300,000 times with many reposts and quotes.

Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB) is a former military president who ruled Nigeria from 1985 to 1993. Since he left power and formed an interim government in 1993, the former head of state has consistently contributed to issues of nation-building, among others. 

The viral tweet on X (formerly Twitter) attributed to Mr Babangida left tongues wagging on the platform with divided opinions on a supposedly proposed military coup. 

While some Nigerians welcomed the idea, others rejected it, stating a military government would be worse. 

The claim was also shared on YouTube.

Due to the sensitivity of the claim and the name attached, DUBAWA fact-checked the claim. 

Verification

DUBAWA checked the bio on the X account to ascertain its credibility. The details showed that the account was registered on the platform in 2013 and is being operated from Minna in Niger State. 

Although the account operator indicated that it is a parody account and that IBB does not sign the tweets, many who did not check the account details took it to be that of the ex-military head of state.

Checks showed that many of those engaging in the tweet and circulating the claim believed it came from IBB. 

This prompted a rebuttal from IBB. In a statement, Deyemi Saka, media consultant to Mr Babangida, debunked the claim and asked the public to disregard it.

Mr Saka explained that if there were such concerns, his principal would have used proper communication channels to convey his thoughts to President Tinubu rather than resort to social media.

Part of his statement noted:

“General Babangida has always been a staunch advocate for democracy, both during his tenure and since leaving office. He firmly believes that democracy is a superior form of governance and that electoral processes are the legitimate means for changing a government or expressing dissatisfaction or support.

“Should General Babangida have any concerns regarding the nation’s affairs, he would utilise his rightful place in the Council of State to voice them, rather than resorting to social media or public gatherings…”

Also, Mr Babangida’s media team has, at various times, informed the general public that the General does not operate a social media account, as seen here and here.

Meanwhile, DUBAWA had previously identified the account as one that has misled many Nigerians on X. 

X describes a parody, commentary, or fan account as one that “depicts another person, group, or organisation in their profile to discuss, satirise, or share information about that entity…”

It added that while such accounts may use elements of another’s identity, there should be indicators informing people on the platform that the account is not affiliated with the subject of the profile.

While the account sufficiently noted that it was a parody account, not many users were patient enough to check the bio. 

Conclusion

The claim that Mr Babangida hinted at a military takeover due to the economic hardship in Nigeria is misleading. It originated from a parody account operated in the name of Babangida.  

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