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Nuhu Ribadu, Not Author of the ‘Bombshell on Banditry’ WhatsApp Message

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Claim: A viral message making the rounds on WhatsApp and referenced to Nuhu Ribadu, Former boss of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) claims that President Muhammadu Buhari instigated banditry in Nigeria to oust  former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The viral WhatsApp message is misleading. There is no confirmed source to the story and the spokesperson to Ribadu has debunked the message, tagging it as ‘fake news’. 

Full Text 

Before the 2015 general elections, insecurity was a major problem in the Nigerian society. While most of the attacks experienced were referenced to Boko Haram, banditry was not much of a topical issue then. However, fast forward to 2018, till now, Banditry has become a prominent issue in the centre of Nigeria’s security issue. 

Since its emergence, security analysts have been trying to understand its nature, sponsorship and patterns of attacks. It is in the light of this reality, that a  viral WhatsApp message claims that Muhammadu Buhari, the current Nigerian president instigated banditry to oust Goodluck Jonathan, who was then president of the country until his defeat by the latter in the 2015 general elections.

The acclaimed message is referenced to Nuhu Ribadu, the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and has  already been shared several times on WhatsApp, and on and recently even published in a feature magazine; rendering an unverified account of the origin of banditry in the country. 

A screenshot of the acclaimed WhatsApp message referenced to Nuhu Ribadu. 

The viral message also alleged that Buhari sought the services of mercenaries, who were recruited from neighbouring countries, to claim power for the Fulani group in case he loses the 2015 presidential election. To give credibility to the narrative, the message was attributed to the former EFCC boss, Nuhu Ribadu as the author.

The same viral message as featured in Savanna Express Magazine with picture of Nuhu Ribadu

Nuhu Ribadu, is a former Nigerian Police Officer and Politician. He was the Chairman of the Petroleum Revenue Task force and eventually the founding chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Nigerian government anti corruption body. EFFC, from 2003–2007.

Verification

Dubawa analysed the message and found out that it was highly disjointed with a lot of spelling errors. Typical errors that should not have been prevalent with such important acclaimed messages, and also questionable in the essay of Nuhu Ribadu,  who authored a book. 

The reporter further reached out to the Publisher of the feature magazine, SAVANNA EXPRESS, where the article was published in Vol  9, No 98 ISSN 98760 -5432, Page 39 – 40 on  23rd June 2021 with the caption: ‘Nuhu Ribadu: BOMBSHELL ON BANDITRY’.

In his response, as regards the source to the story, Mr Michael Eluwa, the publisher of the Savanna Magazine, who did not deny publishing the article,  admitted that he was practicing “guerilla Journalism” to fight the government as such he won’t disclose the source of the information.

In a bid to uncover the actual genealogy of the story, Dubawa also reached out to Nuhu Ribadu’s former aide and journalist, AbdulAziz AbdulAziz, who said that the message has been on since June  2019 and a rebuttal regarding the acclaimed message has been sent out by Nuhu Ribadu, using his social media handles.

AbdulAziz, added that the former EFCC Chairman has even  “called on security agencies to investigate the origin of the message and prosecute those behind it, but was surprised the message was still trending on social media.”

AbdulAziz beckoned to the public to disregard the message, which he described as “clear insanity and a cheap blackmail.”

Further scrutiny by Dubawa showed that there was no such report in any credible media organisations. Even so, Dubawa found out that the message wrongly captured Nuhu Ribadu who was Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIG) in 2014 not the Deputy Superintendent (DSP) of Police as posed by the message.  

Conclusion

This message allegedly written by Nuhu Ribadu titled “Bandits were created by Muhammadu Buhari to oust Jonathan” is misleading.

The fact check was produced per Dubawa 2021 Kwame Karikari fellowship partnership with National Orientation Agency (NOA) to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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