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Old picture used to depict FBI operatives in Nigeria to arrest Abba Kyari

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Claim: A viral post by Naija Reality news claims that four FBI operatives arrived at the office of the Inspector General of Police in Abuja.

Verification has revealed that there is no public record in any credible platform to show that the viral post circulating social media that four FBI operatives arrived at the Inspector General of Police’s office in Abuja.

Full Text

A viral post surfaced on Naija Reality news Facebook page on the 1st of August 2021, with the claim that four US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) operatives arrived at the Inspector General of Police’ office in Abuja. The post was accompanied by a photo of four purported FBI operatives walking on the street.  The post generated 110 comments and 55 shares.

Screenshot of Facebook Post

The post was greeted with mixed reactions, as some of the users tagged the post to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Abba Kyari.

A reply by Hon Abdulqodir Yaqub reads “Arrest who. I laugh in Igbo. Abba Kyari is untouchable…”

Another reply by David Okkolo, reads “Hon Abdulqodir Yaqub Abba

Kyari welcome to America, Abba goes to foreign court, Hon Abdulqodir e shock u?”

While several users tagged the post fake news.

A reply by Olutayo Babatunde Emmanuel reads “These News look like a scammer News.. As well… Just Tell us… You want to make Money. Where is bandits shaa…. Cuz I’m still wondering where these FBI.. Landed”

Screenshot of replies

Why would the FBI visit Nigeria?

On July 29, 2021, an infamous Nigerian fraudster (Ramon Abbas) popularly known as Hushpuppi, who is currently facing charges of money laundering leveled against him by the United States Government implicated the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari as a party in an international scheme to defraud Qatari school founder and then launder over 1.1million dollars in illicit proceeds.

A 69 page court document outlines a dispute among members of the crime syndicate which allegedly prompted one Vincent to contact the victim and claim that Abbas and Juma (Also a fraudster) were engaged in fraud. After this, Abbas allegedly arranged to have Vincent jailed in Nigeria by Kyari. The document further provided that Kyari allegedly sent Abbas’ account details into which he could deposit payments for Vincent’s arrests and imprisonment.

Kyari, however, debunked these serious allegations leveled against him via his verified Instagram and Facebook accounts, even though the post was later deleted. A report by BBC shows that the United States Department of Justice has issued a warrant of arrest and has ordered the Extradition of the Deputy Inspector General of Police. The  IGP, however, suspended him pending the report from the committee in charge of investigation.

Report has it that Kyari, who appeared before the panel headed by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigations Department, Joseph Egbunike, on the 4th August 2021, claimed he was innocent in the $1.1million Internet fraud perpetrated by the serial fraudster, Hushpuppi.

Verification

Since this post didn’t give full details on why (FBI) operatives arrived at the Inspector General of Police’s office in Abuja, Dubawa clicked on the link below the post to get details but it redirected this reporter to a new website, with a story published on the 5th of June 2019, which is entirely different from the actual headline and photo.

Screenshot of website

Dubawa then ran a word search to verify the information.

A word search also revealed that  Sahara reporters published a story on the 30th of July 2021, stating that the FBI agents have met with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Usman Alkali Baba, on the 29th and 30th consecutively to demand the arrest and extradition of the Deputy Commissioner of Police.

“According to a top source, four FBI agents met with the IGP on Thursday asking that Nigeria’s celebrated cop, Kyari be taken to the United States for interrogation over his role in the activities of suspected serial internet fraudster, Ramon Abbas, more commonly known as Hushpuppi.”

This shows that Naija Reality news was trying to cull the report by Sahara reporters.

Screenshot of report

Dubawa also conducted a Google Reverse image search ( a web tool used to verify the authenticity of images) on the photo of the four (FBI) operatives walking on Abuja street that was attached to the post, and  result revealed that the photo was attached to a publication on The Atlantic in 2019 with the caption “FBI agents near YouTube headquarters following an active-shooter situation in San Bruno, California, in April 2018.” 

Screenshot of Publication

To verify the claim, Dubawa reached out to the Police Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba via calls and messages. None was answered or replied.

Further verification revealed that the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice has said that it has not received any official communication on the arrest warrant issued against Kyari, by the FBI  in the United States over the indictment in the  cyber fraud  saga, noting that a transfer process would not commence until there was a request from the United States to that effect. 

At the time of filing this report, Dubawa didn’t get any public record in any credible platform to show that four FBI operatives arrived at the Inspector General of Police’s Office in Abuja, even though a top source has revealed that four FBI agents met with the IGP on Thursday and Friday, to ask for the release of the Deputy Commissioner of Police, so that he can be taken to the United States for interrogation over his role in the activities of suspected serial internet fraudster, Hushpuppi, there is insufficient evidence to back this claim,  since the Nigerian Police is yet to make this public.

Conclusion

Verification has revealed that there is no public record in any credible platform to show that the viral post circulating social media that four FBI operatives arrived at the Inspector General of Police’s Office in Abuja.

The researcher produced this fact-check per the 2021 Kwame Karikari Fact-checking Fellowship partnership with JAY 101.9 FM Jos to facilitate the ethos of truth in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

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