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Old video recirculated to depict recent protest in Ondo over food inflation

Claim: Ondo State residents in Akure took to the streets in Jan 2024 to protest the high cost of food items under President Bola Tinubu, as seen here and here.  

Verdict: False! The video is from a Yoruba Nation rally held in Oyo town, Óyo State, in Dec 2022.

Full Text

In recent months, Nigerians have taken to social media to complain over the surge in the cost of food items. Some social media posts encourage users to buy food items in bulk as prices are unpredictable. 

The National Bureau of Statistics reports showed that the food inflation rate in Dec 2023 rose to 33.93 per cent yearly, 10.18 per cent higher than in Dec 2022 (23.75 per cent).

Recall that in Dec 2023, a video had gone viral on social media where residents of Lagos Island and traders of the popular Idumota market yelled at Mr Tinubu’s motorcade, “Ebi npa wa o,” a Yoruba phrase for “We are hungry.”

The president was said to have visited the Lagos Central Mosque in Lagos Island for a Jumat Service on Friday, Dec 29. But, rather than the usual hailing from residents, he was greeted with complaints of economic hardship. 

Due to the situation in the country, social media users have been circulating different clips depicting people’s plight.

One such footage purportedly shows residents of Akure in Ondo State protesting the increase in the cost of food items under Mr Tinubu’s administration. 

Those circulating the video claimed the purported protest, led by the Yoruba Nation, the secessionist movement, took place in Jan 2024. 

The video was also shared on Twitter, as seen here, here and here

The narrative built around the video was that the protesters voted for Mr Tinubu because he was from the southwest. Still, after experiencing hardship, they called for self-determination of their territory. 

The video showed some people carrying flags of the proposed Yoruba Nation in a street. Two vans carried the Yoruba Nation flag, as well as some people and speakers. 

A voice speaking in Yoruba said, “See them on your screen. They were asked to enter the vehicle, but they refused. They insisted that what they want is the Yoruba Nation, they want to attain independence, they are no longer interested in one Nigeria.”

Afterwards, a voice from the speaker sang, “God has given it to us. The Yoruba Nation we want, God has given us.”

The video was also featured on Arise News’ trending with Ojy Okpe.

Verification 

DUBAWA observed the protesters were carrying a Yoruba Nation flag, and from their song lyrics, they were indeed seeking the self-determination of South-West Nigeria.

Recall that in Jan 2021, a Yoruba agitator, Sunday Adeyemo, popularly known as Igboho, blamed the insecurity in Oyo State on Fulani bandits.

He subsequently issued a seven-day ultimatum to Fulani people to leave the Ibarapa local government area of the state.

Defying opposition from the federal and state governments, the self-proclaimed activist, in June of the same year, further issued an eviction notice to herders in the six Yoruba states of Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Oyo, Ekiti and Lagos. 

The directive came amid a Yoruba Nation rally kick-started in different South West states. A massive rally was held in different parts of Ondo State in May 2021, where the activist was present amidst throngs of other agitators.  

Afterwards, rallies were held in different South West states and some outside the country, particularly after operatives of the Department of State Services invaded Igboho’s house. He was eventually arrested outside the country in Benin Republic in July 2021. 

However, the protests and rallies did not stop. Other agitators took to the streets at different intervals to request the Southwest’s self-determination and release their leader from detention in the Benin Republic.

Findings by DUBAWA showed that the video paraded on social media, similar to that of a recent protest in Ondo, was from one of the Yoruba Nation rallies. 

Further checks by DUBAWA revealed no ‘ebi n pawa’ chants in the video, as claimed by social media users. 

An analysis of the video showed it was taken from a rally held in Oyo town in Oyo State as far back as Dec 2022. A voice in the video had said, ‘Koiki Media is bringing the world closer to your doorstep,’  a phrase commonly used in Koiki’s live videos.

A thorough search on the page operated by Olayomi Koiki, allegedly the spokesperson for Igboho, showed the video was captured live on Dec 22, 2022, in Oyo state (32:25 -33:19).

The voice in the video bandied as a recent one was the exact voice in Koiki’s 2022 video. This means it has nothing to do with Mr Tinubu’s administration, as he was elected only in Feb 2023 and subsequently sworn in on May 29. 

Rather, those in the 2022 video only complained about the economy under former president Muhammadu Buhari. 

Conclusion

The video shared to depict a recent protest in Ondo State in January 2024 was taken from a Yoruba Nation rally in Oyo State in December 2022. 

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