Boko Haram

  • 2016 video recirculated to depict Nigerian Army killed dozens of bandits in Kebbi

    Claim: A viral video resurfaced on Friday, 18th June 2021 claiming the Nigerian Army had dealt a heavy blow on bandits who abducted students of FGC Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State, northwest Nigeria. The video showed men of the Nigerian Army dragging and piling dozens of corpses, allegedly of bandits.    

    The viral video is misleading as it is a 2016 video which resurfaced and is being circulated to sell a narrative that the Nigerian Army dealt a heavy blow to bandits who abducted students of FGC Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State.   

    Full Story

    Gunmen on Thursday, 17th June 2021 raided the Federal Government College, Birnin Yauri in Kebbi State, northwest Nigeria and abducted dozens of students and teachers in broad daylight. The Police command in Kebbi State, through its spokesperson, Nafiu Abubakar had said the gunmen killed a Police officer and shot one student who was receiving treatment. The number of students abducted is uncertain as some of the teachers said as many as 80 students were abducted.

    By the next day, the Nigerian Army spokesperson , Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement that troops tracking the kidnappers had found one female student dead in the forest but rescued five students and two teachers. He said the Nigerian Army troops operating under the auspices of ‘Operation Hadarin Daji’ who had been in pursuit of the bandits had rescued the students and teachers after a fierce exchange of fire with the criminals.

    “The rescue followed an initial encounter with the abductors in the early hours of today (Friday) June 18th, 2021 after trailing the kidnappers from Yauri through Riyao to Sombo community, where the abductors who had split into two groups fled, with one group conveying the abducted children, while the second group conveyed rustled cattle,” he said.

    A BBC Hausa report of 18th June had quoted residents of Sakaba in Birnin Kebbi saying Nigerian security forces killed at least 80 bandits during an ambush around Makoko village and the corpses were being piled near a primary school. The revelation prompted many Nigerians to take to social media to link the army’s alleged success against the bandits with a video showing what appeared to be Nigeria’s security forces piling corpses. 

    Social media users further linked the video to a statement made by President Muhammadu Buhari during a live media chat with Arise TV on June 10th where he said he had given the military and police the order to be ruthless against bandits terrorizing the northwest. The president had stressed that: “We are going to treat them in the language they understand. We have given the police and the military the power to be ruthless. You watch it in a few weeks’ time there will be a difference.”

    Flex Dino Kempes with 2,157 friends on Facebook posted the video on his page with the caption: “When the president said that we will soon start getting the results of his speaking to those causing problems in the country in a language they will understand very fast in the coming weeks, he wasn’t joking, results has started flying in from the northern part of the country.”

    Screenshot of Felix Dino Kempe’s Facebook page 

    “Over 200 Bandits have been killed within the week and the count keeps on increasing with each passing day. Kebbi and Niger are becoming too hot for the Bandits to operate in. Fire on Nigeria Army, we are solidly behind you.” He stated while posting a video that showed men of the Nigerian Army piling corpses,” he wrote. 

    Bello Aliyu Wamako also posted the same video on his Facebook page with the caption: “83 suspected bandits were killed by the Nigerian Army.”

    Screenshot of Bello Aliyu Wamako’s Facebook page

    A user on Twitter, Mubarak Umar (@Mubarack_Umar) posted the video with the tweet: “Nigerian troops vs bandits.” while other users such as Abimbola King (@Harbimborlar) and EL.Farouq Sarkinoma (@ESarkinoma) retweeted the videos. 

    The viral video

    This reporter observed that the video that has gone viral on social media appeared in two lengths. One was a 2 minutes 50 seconds video while a second version of the same video was shortened to 59 seconds. The video showed soldiers who appeared to be men of the Nigerian Army scattered around an arid area dragging and piling corpses.

    Twenty-five seconds into the video, a voice in the background could be heard saying, “yes I can see you guys working,” while other soldiers made small talks in Hausa and English languages as they dragged corpses scattered around the vicinity to a spot. At about one minute eight seconds into the video, the man making the recordings said to his colleague: “Nna, enh, I fear yesterday. I swear to God, wetin fear me be say suicide bomber dey pass…” Nna is an Igbo originated word meaning man. 

    At one minute 33 seconds into the video, while the corpses were being piled up, the man behind the camera said in Hausa: “asa wani bisa wani (pile them on top of each other) while another soldier said: “Taya za musa” (We’ll use tires). The person recording the video could be heard saying: “ina tayoyin ne yallaboi” (where are the tires sir?).

    The soldiers continued with talks on how to get firewood to burn the corpses and at two minutes 46 seconds, one of the soldiers who attempted to fire shots at a corpse was reprimanded by a senior officer who told him not to waste his bullet on a corpse.

    Verification

    This reporter first observed that the video appeared to have been shot in an arid area with soldiers appearing in the Nigerian Army desert camouflage used for combat operation in the northern part of the country. 

    The Nigerian Army had in 2016 launched the harmonized military desert and woodland camouflage uniform with all arms of the military wearing the same camouflage uniform. While the desert camouflage is designed to blend with the terrain in the northern part of the country, the woodland camouflage is adopted for the terrain in the south. 

    A picture of the Nigerian Army desert camo camouflage used for combat operations in the northern part of the country.

    This reporter also conducted a keyframe analysis of the video using various reverse image search engines such as TinEye, Google reverse image search and Yandex. While TinEye did not produce any useful result, Google reverse image search showed that the video had been retweeted several times in the last few days. 

    TinEye did not produce matches for the video when a key frame analysis was conducted.
    Screenshot from Google reverse image search shows the video has been retweeted several times in the last few days.

    Using Yandex reverse image search, this reporter found that the same video had appeared in 2020 and was posted by EngHausa24 with the caption: “Wannan videon ance shine abunda ya faru yau a dajin Rugu dajke karamar hukumar Danmusa a jihar Katsina.” (This video is said to be what happened today in Rugu forest in Danmusa local government area of Katsina State). 

    A screenshot of the video posted by EngHausa24 in 2020 

    Still using Yandex, an earlier version of the same video was posted by Samba Galaxy in 2016 with the caption: “You need to watch and share this. What our soldiers encounter and go through to protect our lands. Viral it goes.” 

    A screenshot of the same video posted by Samba Galaxy in 2016. 

    A keyword search also led to the video which was posted but now deleted on tori.ng in 2016 with the caption: “Dead bodies everywhere! See what soldiers did to Boko Haram members.” Further explanation about the video had stated that: “A video footage from the northeast shows Nigerian Military men dragging bodies of slain Boko Haram fighters. The Nigerian forces seem to be winning the war.

    Conclusion        

    This Fact check concludes that the viral video of men of the Nigerian Army seen dragging and piling corpses of alleged bandits who kidnapped students of FGC Birnin Yauri is misleading as the video first appeared online in 2016. Therefore, the video could not have been connected to the latest alleged onslaught on bandits in the northwest.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2021 Kwame KariKari Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Viral video depicting Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram from MALI

    CLAIM: A viral video showing bodies of dead soldiers has been passed round as Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents in a recent attack.

    Viral video that purports to show bodies of Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents after an attack is FAKE. The soldiers in the video are not Nigerian soldiers.

    Full Text

    Nigeria’s struggle against insurgency remains one of the major conflicts in the sub-region. Despite efforts by the military to contain the insurgents, attacks have continued, leading to the displacement of millions and the death of over 30,000 people in northern Nigeria, including security forces.

    A recent resurgence in the activities of Boko Haram and other Islamist terrorist groups has seen increased attacks targeted at Nigerian security forces. About 30 soldiers were killed in April in four attacks by Islamist militants in northeast Nigeria, a report said. In the same month, the terrorists hit and overran a police station in Damasak, Borno. state.

    A video which has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp, as indicated by the messaging App, shows the lifeless bodies of soldiers mutilated by bullets. It was shared with the message “boko haram killing Nigerian soldiers,” suggesting the video to be a video of Nigerian soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents in a recent attack.

    In the 4:29 minute clip, the insurgents are seen walking around chanting “Allahu Akbar”, as they carted away rifles, bulletproof vests, and ammunition, previously belonging to the dead soldiers. The quality of the video is poor and blurry, suggesting degradation from repeated sharing across different platforms.

    Dubawa also found the same video, albeit a shorter version, shared on Twitter by one Anderson Micar with the caption: “Boko Haram kill Nigeria Soldiers like chicken. I wonder what type of arms Nigeria military is using to fight them. Maybe stones and sticks.”

    Verification

    DUBAWA analyzed the video on VLC, a media player, using the sigma filter tool to sharpen the video since it was blurry and of poor quality, as well as the slow-speed tool, which aided in capturing the images in the video.

    The slow-speed tool helped track images in the video e.g. The licence plate of this Malian army gun truck
    The sigma tool helpen sharpen the images in the video, e.g. The license plate of the Army gun truck
    “010676 AMA”: Another Army truck spotted in the video

    With the use of both tools, which improved the quality and visibility of the images in the video, DUBAWA observed that the license plates of some of the military trucks in the video bore the national colours of Mali – green, yellow and red. This suggests that the trucks and of course, the dead soldiers, are of the Malian Army. The license plates of two  trucks spotted in the viral video reads: 010680 AMA and 010676 AMA.

    The National Flag of Mali is branded on the license plates of the trucks in the video. Photo credit: Wikipedia

    DUBAWA conducted a Yandex reverse image search using a snapshot of one of the trucks in the video, and found Malian Army trucks bearing deep similarities (license plate, camouflage colour scheme) with the ones in the video, including some from the events of the 2020 Malian Army coup.

    A keyword search also confirmed that the trucks in the video are indeed of the Malian Army [FAMA – Forces Armées Maliennes].

    Malian Army gun trucks with license plates similar to the ones in the viral video. Photo Credit: Google
    Nigerian Army gun truck spotting a different camouflage paint scheme. Photo Credit: Google

    DUBAWA discovered that Nigerian soldiers, as well as the Nigerian Army trucks use a unique camouflage scheme which differentiates it from the Malian Army and other Armies in Africa.

    This fact-checker also found that the group that attacked and killed the soldiers in the video could not have been Boko Haram insurgents, as they do not operate in Mali. The attackers in the video are most likely members of Jama’at Nusrat al Islam wal Muslimeen (JNIM), Islamic State Greater Sahara (ISGS) or any other terrorist groups active in the francophone country.

    “NA088 B03”: This picture shows what a Nigerian Army license plate looks like. (NA – Nigerian Army).  Photo credit: Google

    Conclusion

    A viral video purporting to show “boko haram killing Nigerian soldiers” is FALSE. The soldiers in the video are not Nigerian soldiers and the incident did not happen in Nigeria. 

    The video was taken from an attack on Malian soldiers by insurgents in Mali, not Nigeria.

  • The FactChecker

    Fact Checks of the week

    On Tuesday 11th May 2021, a Twitter user Defense News Nigeria shared a thread alleging the French government of sponsoring African militant and rebel groups. It also linked France to the recent upsurge of the Boko Haram…

    Recently a news blog @Lindaikejiblogoffical claims that a new variant from India is now in Nigeria and has been found in Edo and Osun states in Nigeria. This blog quoted Professor Oyewale Tomori as saying …

    A recent news report by Newsclickng claims the General Overseer (GO) of the Living Faith Church International popularly known as Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, urged his church members…

    Tip Of The Week

    #FakeNewsAlert

    There’s precious little that we can do about the barrage of misinformation that we see daily, but there’s a lot we can do together if we learn to identify suspicious claims in the news and refrain from fuelling the fire by spreading them! Here are our top picks of likely-to-be-false news which [sadly] couldn’t be fact-checked.

    CLAIM: Federal Government Sponsored ICT Training –  SOURCE: WhatsApp Message

    A message making rounds on WhatsApp draws attention to an alleged ICT Training sponsored by the Federal Government and urged readers to apply. While this message may appeal to those seeking this kind of opportunity, it is important to verify the authenticity of the website. Many fraudulent websites have emerged devising different techniques to scam or pull traffic to their websites. 

    Questions to ask yourself: Who is the source? Who Initiated the training? Which government office is sponsoring the training? How genuine are the attached URLs?

    What you should do: Verify before sharing. 

    Other Fact Checks

  • Video purporting Boko Haram forcefully converted Niger Residents to Islam false

    Claim: A viral video making rounds on social media claims that Boko Haram is forcefully converting commuters in Niger State in Nigeria into islam

    The viral claim that Boko Haram is forcefully converting commuters in Niger State of Nigeria is false. Shreds of evidence showed that the purported event actually took place in Kolia, Ivory Coast, during a crusade that was hosted by a certain female cleric. Hence, the video was taken out of its original context to paint a different narrative. 

    Full text

    One topical security issue that has dominated news over the past weeks is the  announced  presence of  Boko Haram in a number of communities in  Niger State.

    This has aroused concern amongst many Nigerians exposed to a a video making  rounds on Twitter, WhatsApp and other social media platforms alleging that the communities held by Boko Haram   in Niger State are now being forced to convert to Islam by the terror group, Boko Haram.

    The claim was shared multiple times on WhatsApp, apparently arousing people’s outrage over the said situation. 

    The claim as forwarded to Dubawa on WhatsApp 

    The video has also made an appearance on Twitter,  after it was tweeted by Femi Fani-Kayode who later acknowledged in a subsequent post that the acclaimed incident did not happen in Niger State, Nigeria.

    Femi Fani-Kayode’s tweet as regards the claim in question 

    Notwithstanding, multiple reactions to the claim showed a wide range of believability, a minimal skepticism from some users, and just a few contrary opinions by other users. 

    The sensitivity of security issues in Nigeria is like a ticking bomb that requires quick and prudent attention. It is as a result of this reality that DUBAWA opted to uncover the  verity of this claim. 

    Verification

    While the governor of Niger State has already debunked the claim, stating that it was fake news, the details of clarification neither stated where the conversion ceremony took place. 

    The Niger state governor debunked the claim

    However, DUBAWA uncovered that the purported video was taken out of its original context to paint a  misleading story. 

    It was originally shared on Tik Tok by a user (@brahimakone49)  as part of a collection  of videos that were posted to depict an apparent Islamic  crusade that commenced on 29th of April 2021 in the town of Kolia, Ivory Coast. 

    The user, @brahimakone49 who originally shared the video on Tik tok took time to respond to other users who needed clarification on the actual event the video depicted. He confirmed that it took place in Kolia, Ivory coast and stated clearly that it was a crusade held by a certain female Muslim cleric who was performing healing sessions on the crowdin the video. 

    In clip 9 of the video collection, when a commenter (@banfana banfana) asked what was actually happening in the scene, the actual source replied that all the people present came to be treated in Kolia by the woman who works miracles. 

    Also in clip 9, when asked by another user (@Toure Deed)  where it took place, the publisher clearly stated that it took place in Kolia, Ivory coast. 

    Throughout the comment box, the actual author of the video collection repeatedly mentioned that it took place in Kolia, Ivory coast and explained generally that the event was a healing session held by a certain female Islamic cleric who is seen speaking in subsequent clips of the video.

    Image 1

    Tiktok profile page of the original source of the video, depicting other videos of the female cleric

    DUBAWA uncovered that the  acclaimed video making rounds on social media was merely the 10th out of a series of 11 videos shared by the original source. 

    Image 2

    The username of the original source is highlighted green above in one of the purported claims making rounds. The same username could be traced in image 1. While the writing ‘partie 10’ outlined in blue, shows the sequence number of the video amongst total 11 of the collection originally shared, as it can be seen in image 3 below. 

    Image 3

    These are the rest of the collection the purported video was selected from to paint a new and misleading narrative. All highlighted yellow in the center of each clip.

    Nonetheless, to have a further grasp of the context, content and reality of the actual video shared on Tik tok the link to all the clips are presented below:

    Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11  

    Additionally, seven other clips shared by the same author giving the actual event an even more glaring context are shared here: 

    Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, part 7

    Also notable was the Baoulé dialect and a little bit of French spoken throughout the duration of the clips. While French is the official language of Ivory Coast, Baoule is also a major language spoken in the country. 

    Conclusion

    The video circulating on social media alleging that Boko Haram is forcing commuters in Niger State of Nigeria to convert to Islam is false. The purported footage was taken out of its original context of 11 videos and used to depict an entirely untrue narrative. 

  • Viral video depicting Boko Haram’s takeover of Niger state is false

    Claim: A viral video on Facebook claims that Boko Haram hoisted its flag in Niger State, Nigeria.

    The claim

    The claim that Boko Haram has hoisted its flag in Niger State, Nigeria, is false. The incident shown in the footage was discovered to have taken place at the Ajdabiya western gate in Libya during the country’s civil war back in 2011. Hence, this claim is false.  

     Full text 

    The growing rate of insecurity in Nigeria is no doubt alarming. A wide range of  the growing concern amongst the citizenry is linked  to the increase in  banditry, kidnapping, terrorism, and clashes between farmers and herders across the country.  This reality has over the years made security issues a topic of growing concern that induces frenzy. Therefore, talk of insecurity has dominated the Nigerian information space and seems to be building up fear amongst Nigerians. 

    As the recent turn of events announces the presence of Boko Haram in Niger state of Nigeria, a specific claim maintains that Boko Haram has hoisted its flag in the state. 

    The claim, which was shared on Facebook as a video, depicts an array of gunmen, trooping in vehicles while shooting sporadically into the air in what appears to be a jubilant display. The video was headlined “Boko Haram hosted their flag in Niger state, 2hrs drive to Abuja can’t you see that Nigeria is no longer Nigeria?” This statement implyies that the gunmen in the video were members of a jihadist group was located not very far from Abuja, Nigeria’s federal capital.

    Like most security topics of its kind, the claim has amassed almost 3,000 reactions, 262,000 views, over 8,000 shares and garnered close to 2,000 comments that  cut across different opinions at the time this report was filed. 

    One of the commenters, Obehi Francis Ekeoba, stated that “Nigerians should all get ready and be prepared for war. It is coming and the earlier we are prepared the better for us. War is inevitable at this time” while another user, Hussain Hussan Suleiman Dogonyaro, argued that “the whole road to Niger doesn’t have this kind of fine road, even inside Niger many places don’t have this kind of road so which side is this in Niger that we don’t know.”

    Verification 

    DUBAWA first uncovered that the same video under scrutiny had once appeared in 2014 with a different narrative purporting that Boko Haram had taken control of Giwa barracks in Borno State. 

    Subsequently, however,  when key-frames of the video were analysed on InVid video verifier,  results showed that the video first appeared online in 2011, depicting a scene displayed by Libyan soldiers loyal to Moammar Gadhafi as they jubilantly entered the  city of Ajdabiya, through its western gates.

    Footage of the original video first shared on December 14th, 2011 depicting Libyan soldiers jubilantly approaching the western gate of Ajdabiya, a major city in Libya.

    Even so, further proof shows the purported video actually took place at the western gates of Ajdabiya in Libya and not in Niger stated, Nigeria, as claimed. 

    1mage 1

    The image above is extracted from the acclaimed video that was purported to have taken place in Niger state, Nigeria. Notice the same gate in image two, outlined in red.

    Image 2

    A photo attached to a news story during the Libyan civil war in 2011,  apparently taken at the Ajdabiya western gate in Libya, not in Niger state, Nigeria as acclaimed in image 1. 

    Evidently,  the Ajdabiya western gate is a prominent location in Libya and not anywhere in Niger state, Nigeria. 

    The western gate of Ajdabiya as showcased on Wikipedia 

    Conclusion

    The incident in the video purported to have occurred in Niger State, Nigeria, is confirmed to have apparently taken place at the western gates of Ajdabiya in Libya, during the Libyan civil war in 2011. Therefore, the claim is false. 

  • Old, Foreign Photos Recycled As Recent Military Raid Of Terrorist Camp

    Claim: The Nigerian military recently raided an enclave of Boko Haram terrorists inside the Sambisa Forest, seizing ammunition and religious books and burning the structures.

    Misleading and false. While one of the pictures dates back to 2004 and was shot in Sudan, a North African country, others are from a military clearance operation that took place in early 2018.

    Full text

    A Twitter user, LMAN (@L_man__), shared four pictures on Friday, Jan. 15, and suggested they showed the aftermath of a recent military onslaught against Boko Haram camps in the Sambisa Forest area. The pictures included an aerial view of burning structures as well as shots of religious books and ammunition seized from insurgents.

    “Boko Haram have abandoned one of their Sambisa enclaves under the superior power of Nigeria’s military,” LMAN captioned them.

    The post coincided with the celebration of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day, set aside to mark the end of the Nigerian civil war which lasted two and a half years from 1967 to Jan. 15, 1970, as well as Nigeria’s participation in global military operations.

    A day after LMAN’s tweet, another Twitter user, AGGN (@haruna_braimoh), shared three of the pictures and a fifth one, explicitly claiming they were taken recently.

    “Shekau was here 2021. Yeye. Bullet keel you.!! This is inside the Sambisa Forest and the inners of the BH leader!! May Allah strengthen the Nigeria military & allied forces to do the needful finally to finish this business successfully,” he wrote.

    LMAN and AGGF’s tweets were respectively liked by over 1,200 and 417 users of the microblogging platform as of 8 a.m. on Sunday, Jan. 17. They were cumulatively shared 673 times.

    Verification

    Using the reverse image search tool, TinEye, HumAngle found that the aerial shot of a burning building located in a desertland first appeared on the internet in March 2008.

    In a 2009 publication by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the picture was captioned as “the burning of Um Ziefa in Darfur, Sudan,” dated Dec. 12, 2004, and credited to Brian Steidle, a photographer for the museum.

    Over 3,300 villages were damaged or destroyed mostly between 2003 and 2005 in the Darfur region “during the height of the brutal Sudanese government-backed campaign targeting civilians,” the museum noted. 

    The other four pictures were traced back to a post from Jan. 31, 2018, shared on Facebook by the Nigerian Army’s former Director of Public Relations, Brig.-Gen.  Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd).

    He had uploaded a total of 24 pictures alongside a statement explaining that troops of Operation Lafiya Dole, under Operation Deep Punch II, had cleared Camp Zairo the previous day and recovered battle tanks among other items.

    “Yesterday, Tuesday 30th January 2018, the advancing troops had contact with Boko Haram terrorists and engagement ensued,” the general wrote. 

    He added: “During the encounter, they were able to recover an Eagle Main Battle Tank (EMBT), 1 VBL, 1 AK-47 Rifle, a Police Teargas Rifle, religious books, many gas cylinders and bags of fertiliser, ostensibly for Improvised Explosives Devices making. 

    “Other items destroyed by the gallant troops include 7 Gun trucks, 4 Trucks, 5 Hilux, 1 Prado Jeep, 1 Golf car, 4 Mitsubishi pick up, 1 Hiace bus, several Motorcycles, makeshift shelters, tentages  and household items.”

    The pictures were subsequently included in publications on various news platforms and blogs.

    Located in Borno State, Camp Zairo (Zero) was formerly the command and control centre of Boko Haram. It was established as a military training facility under the administration of Gen. Ibrahim Babangida but was later abandoned after public outcry. The terror group had then taken over the facility and converted the area to a training ground. 

    Conclusion

    All the pictures are not recent and have been used in a misleading context. One of the photos is from the infamous Darfur genocide in Sudan that led to the killing of hundreds of thousands of people. Other pictures are from Nigeria but show a military raid that took place in January 2018.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with HumAngle to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • These Aren’t Photos Of Weapons Donated To Boko Haram By France

    Claim: A set of 661 pump action rifles donated by the French government and destined for Boko Haram terrorist camps was intercepted by the Nigeria Customs Service.

    False. The pictures date back to 2017 and there is no part about the Customs’ official statement linking the weapons to either France or Boko Haram.

    Full text

    A Twitter account, LA America (@LavinyAsocUSA), on Tuesday shared two pictures of firearms. It claimed that they are weapons funded by France and planned to be acquired by Boko Haram terrorists.

    “Container full of weapons held by Nigeria’s customs office destined for Boko Haram by France. Weapons intercepted by Nigeria customs for Boko Haram supplied by France, concealed in a container with the name of an NGO,” the account wrote.

    A similar claim was made the previous day, January 4, by a different Twitter user.

    “Ammunition from France concealed in containers with food said to be meant for IDPs in Borno State. Some Customs officials insisted on a thorough check and they found arms and ammunition concealed for humanitarian aid delivery,” Yusha Abdul (@yusha_abdul) wrote in a tweet where he attached an additional picture of the scene.

    “Boko Haram is not about Islam or Muslims and it doesn’t represent either. It is more of economics and politics. May God continue to expose them and make our country safe. Amin.”

    Abdul has over 12,100 followers on the microblogging platform. His tweet was liked by 45 people and shared a total of 37 times as of midday, January 6.

    Many of those who interacted with the post believed the claim. 

    “We believe France and other humanitarian workers help insurgency and terrorism in Nigeria and other West African countries. Last month more than 150 Niger military men were killed and Niger government suspecting France of masterminding the attack. So we must stop them,” one person commented.

    Another wrote in a quote retweet, “France is one of our major problems in Nigeria And Africa. We cannot divorce our security challenges from the French and the United States. But when we explain, politically ignorant people call us conspiratorial theorists.”

    Screenshot taken on January 6, 2021

    It is not the first time this claim would be spread on social media. In December 2019, the Global Pan-Africanism Network (GPAN) shared the same set of three pictures and blamed France for attempting to send the firearms to the Boko Haram terrorist group. 

    “Weapons arrested by the customs of Nigeria destined for Boko Haram provided by France, hidden in a container with the name of an NGO,” the organisation’s Twitter account wrote. The tweet was liked by 472 users of the platform and shared over 380 times.

    Around the same period, Savn Daniel (@savndaniel) shared a now-deleted tweet with the same pictures and claim.

    The claim has also circulated in French among nationals of Mali but was slightly edited to say the weapons were bound for Kidal in northern Mali. According to other claims, the weapons were seized in Ivory Coast or Burkina Faso.

    Verification

    A reverse image search done using TinEye revealed that the pictures date back to May 23, 2017. One of the earliest publications containing the pictures is a report by Legit Newspaper, which stated that a container loaded with arms was intercepted by officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in Lagos.

    In a post shared through its verified Facebook account on the same day, NCS shared five pictures of the interception, which it said was of 440 pump action rifles and other items concealed with POP cement. This contradicts Yusha Abdul’s claim that the firearms were kept inside foodstuff.

    Seized items from the truck included 100 pieces of Black Tornado single barrel rifles, 75 pieces of silver magnum single barrel rifles, 50 pieces of alter pump action rifles, 215 pieces of black single barrel rifles, 516 50kg bags of POP (Plaster of Paris) cement, and so on.

    “Answering questions from the media on the circumstance surrounding the seizure, the Customs Area Controller hinted that the importer declared the consignment as Antisera and Cannule (chemical formula),” the NCS said in its statement.

    “Speaking further on the status of the seizure, the Customs Area Controller stated that investigation is still ongoing with a view to unravelling those behind the importation and that further profiling of the importer will be carried out to get other details.”

    The government agency further revealed that it had arrested one person in connection with the illegal importation and stated that the guns originated from Turkey. 

    Earlier and later that year, other batches of 661 and 1,100 pump action rifles were similarly imported from Turkey through false declaration. 

    The NCS neither linked the firearms to the French government nor Boko Haram.

    Five of the smugglers responsible for importing 661 in January 2017, Mahmud Hassan, Oscar Okafor, Donatus Achinulo, Matthew Okoye, said to be at large, and Salihu Danjuma, were charged with conspiracy, importation of prohibited firearms, forgery, altering of documents, and bribery. 

    They were not charged under the 2011 Terrorism Prevention Act which prohibits support for terrorist organisations, including “the offer of material assistance, weapons, including chemical or nuclear weapons, explosives, transportation, false documentation or identification.”

    Conclusion

    The rifles and other seized objects were shipped from Turkey and not France, and there is no evidence suggesting that they were intended for Boko Haram terrorists.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with HumAngle to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Video Of Boko Haram Capturing Soldiers Not Recent

    Claim: Boko Haram released a video of its fighters capturing and beheading Nigerian soldiers.

    Misleading as the video was published on the internet as far back as December 2019.

    Full text

    Twitter user Emeka Gift, on December 7, shared a video with his over 85,600 followers. The 32-second recording appeared to show tens of insurgents tying the arms of captured soldiers behind their backs as they lay on the ground.

    “Video Nigeria government don’t want the world to see. According to Nigeria government, Boko Haram has been defeat [sic]. But watch and see how Boko Haram rounded Nigeria soldiers and behead them one after the other,” Gift wrote.

    He added, “#EndNigeria or Nigeria will end you. #SupportBiafra.”

    The video had been watched over 1,000 times as of 8p.m. on December 7. It was liked by 144 users of the microblogging platform and retweeted over 330 times.

    Some of the comments indicate that those engaging with the tweet believe the video to be recent. Dammy Francos, for example, wrote: “This is the Boko Haram that Zulum said Buhari is doing well.” The statement from the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, was made earlier the same day, Monday, December 7.

    Screenshot of tweet taken at 8 pm on December 7, 2020

    Verification

    Searches through YouTube, a video-sharing platform and search engine, as well as Facebook revealed that versions of the same clip were first shared on Tuesday, December 10, 2019.

    On this day, a Facebook page, Biafran Update, shared the video with commentary from Simon Ekpa, a lawyer and self-described Biafra agitator. 

    “You can see what Boko Haram is doing. They have captured tens and tens of Nigerian soldiers to be slaughtered and killed. The video you are looking at is a new Boko Haram video of 10th November, 2019,” Ekpa said, and urged South-Easterners not to join the Nigerian military or resign if they were already part of the army.

    The same day, the video was shared by various YouTube channels, including Rainbow Channel and Nkoli Reporters TV. The following couple of days, it was uploaded by other channels.

    Two days earlier, the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP), which broke off from Boko Haram in 2016, had released a video where it killed a Nigerian soldier and police officer, who had been abducted in Benisheikh, Borno State.

    There is no evidence connecting the new video to a source within the terrorist camps in Nigeria. It has been suggested that the security operatives in the recording may be from neighbouring countries such as Niger Republic and that the terrorists may be fighters of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), which operates in Mali and Niger.

    “One difference seems to be, however, ISWAP is more 4×4/truck-dependent and ISGS more motorcycle-dependent; still can share tactics and personnel though,” wrote Jacob Zenn, an analyst for the Jamestown Foundation and adjunct assistant professor on African armed movements at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Programme, in December 2019.

    In the video that went viral, about four motorcycles could be seen.

    “Soldiers in the video aren’t from Nigeria,” tweeted Murtala Abdullah, a security analyst, on December 14, 2019.

    He  added that the appearance of the fighters did not fit into the description of those who attacked a military facility on December 10.

    Moreso, the timing of the video’s release coincided with the massacre of 71 Nigerien soldiers during an attack on a military camp between Niger and Mali by fighters affiliated with the Islamic State. Twelve other soldiers were wounded and many others declared missing. The country’s army spokesperson had described the incident as “the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.”

    Meanwhile, two days after the video went viral, Nigerian Army Director of Public Relations, Sagir Musa, described it as propaganda from mischievous persons.

    “Accordingly, the call by one Simon Ekpa, (the principal actor in the clip), calling on soldiers of South-East extraction presently serving in the North-East to desert the Army and return to Biafra proved it,” he said.

    “Also, the call on South-Easterners not to join the Nigerian Army is an obvious indication of the essence and objective of the masterminds of this fake video which should be discountenanced by the public.”

    Musa did not speak further about the video’s context or why he called it fabricated.

    Conclusion

    The video first appeared online in December 2019, and there is no evidence it was recorded in Nigeria and that it involved local soldiers. It has rather been debunked by the Nigerian Army and experts that suggest the victims may have been operatives of the Nigerien military.

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with HumAngle to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.

  • Weapon import denial not reason Nigeria is at terrorists’ mercy

    Claim: The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, recently claimed that Nigeria has remained at the mercy of terrorists because global partners denied attempts by the country to acquire platforms and weapons to fight the terrorists.

    Misleading. There is evidence of Nigeria’s purchase of weapons and platforms from different countries. Though the United States blocked Nigeria’s weapon purchases in 2014 due to alleged human rights violations, President Trump overturned the arms embargo in 2018. It is misleading to attribute Nigeria’s inability to end terrorism and armed banditry to such denials since the country has been importing platforms, arms and ammunitions from several other countries. 

    Full Text 

    Recently,  Lai Mohammed spoke on the recent slaughter of many rice farmers in Kwashebe Zabarmari axis of Jere Local government area of Borno State.

    The factional leader of the dreaded Boko Haram terrorists, Abubakar Shekau, confirmed that his group was responsible for the killing of the rice farmers, adding that they killed 78 farmers in the attack.

    A recent video posted online by ChannelsTv, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, claimed Nigeria’s efforts to procure ammunition to defeat terrorists were “denied” and unless the weapons are acquired, Nigeria would continue to be at the mercy of terrorists. 

    “Nigeria has made attempts to acquire better and more effective platforms to deal with terrorists and for one reason or the other, we have been denied these platforms, these weapons and without adequate weapons, without adequate platforms, we remain at the mercy of terrorists,” the Minister said.

    How true is this claim?

    Verification

    In 2014 the United States ruled out heavily arming the Nigerian military because of its alleged poor human rights record.

    In a speech before the US Institute of Peace in August 2015, President Muhammudu Buhari complained that the US had “aided and abetted the Boko Haram terrorists” by refusing to send arms to Nigeria forces on the grounds of “unproven allegations of human rights violations levelled.”

    In  the same year, the US cancelled a shipment of attack helicopters to Nigeria, even though the deal had already been signed. However, that same year, Nigeria placed an order and received six Mi-35M combat helicopters from Russia.

    In addition, Premium Times reported on September 17, 2014, that the Nigerian government opted for a discreet purchase of arms with cash as a measure after the American government allegedly blocked all legitimate arms orders made by the military. 

    In 2018, US President Trump overturned an arms embargo imposed by his predecessor, Barack Obama.

    Trump agreed in 2018 to sell arms and fighter jets to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram.

    Same year, Nigeria paid the United States government $496 million for the acquisition of 12 Super Tucano fighter jets to be used by the Nigerian Air Force.

    President Muhammadu Buhari and President Donald Trump shake hands in Washington DC in April 2018

    Nigerian Air Force disclosed that from 2015 to date, Nigeria has acquired 23 brand new aircrafts, including the latest Mi-171E Helicopter acquired from Serbia by the federal government. 

    The Serbian Ilyushin 76 Strategic Airlifter aircraft that brought the latest helicopter touched down at the NAF Base, Makurdi on December 3, 2020.

    A statement released by the Director of Public Relations and Information of the Nigerian Air Force (@NigAirForce), Air Commodore Ibikunle  Daramola, revealed that, “The new aircraft is the second of two Mi-171E helicopters procured by the current Federal Government and brings to 23 the total number of brand new aircraft acquired since 2015.”

    NAF tweeted the photos of the latest helicopter on its official handle, @NigAirForce

    Recently, the Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar, told the Senate Committee on Air Force that Nigeria has procured aircrafts from different countries. 

    “We are expecting 3 J-17 fighters from Pakistan, 12 super Tucano from the United States, one M-171… Out of the 12 A – 29 Super Tucanos from the US, six are almost here as those to handle them have been sent on training for that purpose,” he said.

    On November 30, 2020, NAF tweeted that the A-29 Super Tucano Aircraft Project between Nigeria and the United States of America is still on course for delivery as scheduled as President Muhammadu Buhari ordered in April 2018.

    Meanwhile, in April this year, the Nigerian Army (NA) took delivery of high grade armoured tanks and artillery trucks purchased by the Federal Government.

    Taking delivery of the armaments then, Army’s Chief of Policy and Plans, Lieutenant General Lamidi Adeosun said Nigerians should expect more robust operations to overtake the menace of insecurity including Boko Haram, banditry and others.

    “From this, you can see how serious the Federal Government of Nigeria is in making sure that the Nigerian Army is not only equipped, but contains the problem of insecurity we are having across the country,” Lieutenant General Adeosun said.

    Significantly, data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Nigeria spent N115.88 billion on import of arms and ammunition in five years.

    A breakdown of the imports by years showed that Nigeria spent N786 million in 2015, N142 million in 2016, N233.35 million in 2017, N1.95 billion in 2018 and N12.77 billion in 2019 on imports of arms and ammunition. 

    Interestingly, NBS data showed that in the first half of 2020, Nigeria has spent about three times the amount of money spent in five years in importing arms and ammunition. 

    The first and second quarters, 2020 Foreign Trade Statistics released by the NBS showed that from January to June, 2020, Nigeria spent N54.8 billion on arms and ammunition importation.  

    However, the data were not disaggregated on the basis of private and government purchases, but it gives a clue to rising importation of arms and ammunition into the country.

    Being that these arms purchases were recorded by a government agency, it is most likely the government’s property or that of few individuals with licenses to import arms could have been included in the tally given by NBS.

    Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Trend Indicator Values (TIVs) estimated that between 2015 and 2019, Nigeria has spent about $356 million on arms imports. 

    The SIPRI values cover the supply of military weapons through sales, aid, gifts, and those made through manufacturing licenses. Data cover major conventional weapons such as aircraft, armored vehicles, artillery, radar systems, missiles, and ships designed for military use. Excluded are transfers of other military equipment such as small arms and light weapons, trucks, small artillery, ammunition, support equipment, technology transfers, and other services.

    In April this year, President Muhammadu Buhari dispelled the commonly held assumptions that the terrorists in the Northeast had far more weapons and money than the government, stressing that what was left of them were “mere scavengers desperate for food, raiding shops and markets, and killing innocent persons in the process.”

    A statement released by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu on August 11, 2020, quoted the President as saying, “The services have resources; yes, they need more, and mobility, and are doing their best, but there is a need for better gathering and interpretation of intelligence.”

    Shehu disclosed that the President informed the Governors of the imminent shipment of military weapons and aircraft from Jordan, China, and the United States and that this could be the reason Nigeria spent N54.8 billion on weapon imports in the first half of 2020, more than the amount spent in five years recorded by the NBS. 

    Conclusion

    Although efforts of Nigeria to import platforms and weapons from some countries may have been denied,  there is evidence of Nigeria’s weapons and platform purchases from different major arms producing countries. Though the United States blocked Nigeria’s weapon purchases in 2014 due to alleged human rights violations, President Trump overturned the arms embargo in 2018. It is misleading to attribute Nigeria’s inability to end terrorism and armed banditry to such denials as the country has been importing platforms, arms and ammunitions from several other countries. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.  

  • Repentant Boko Haram members not paid N150,000 monthly

    Claim 1: Repentant Boko Haram are paid N150,000 monthly

    FALSE. Evidence shows that repentant Boko Haram members are not on N150, 000 monthly remuneration. The Federal Government has debunked the claim. At best, evidence shows some of them got a one-off grant of N20,000 to start their respective vocations. 

    Claim 2: Soldiers are paid N65,000 monthly

    FALSE. Following the implementation of the new minimum wage this year, soldiers in Nigeria earn N70,000 and above. 

    Full Text

    A twitter forum, PDP Vanguard (@PDPVanguard), with over 91,000 followers, claimed that repentant Boko Haram members earn N150,000 monthly. 

    The twitter forum has its bio as “Official Twitter Handle of #PDPVanguard Forum. Dedicated 4 @OfficialPDPNig.” 

    “Something that you can only found in @MBuhari”s Nigeria: Soldiers are being paid 65,000 as monthly salaries; while repentant Boko Haram terrorists are being paid 150,000 as monthly stipend,” the tweet reads. 

    The tweet claiming repentant Boko Haram members earn N150,000 monthly 

    This claim has also been amplified by other twitter users such as Nubari Saatah (@Saatah), who tweeted, “So ‘Ex militants’ are paid less than 100k monthly stipend and ‘repentant’ Boko Haram members are paid 160k? Omo. Shame dey catch me everyday for this Niger Delta.”

    Another tweet amplifying the claim

    Similarly, another twitter user, Demagogue (@von_Bismack) claimed the repentant Boko Haram earns N150,000 monthly.

    “How can the FG propose  to pay “Repentant” Boko Haram members 150k monthly? What’s the basis? This is rubbish. Our policemen, service men, civil servants and Corp members are not even paid such? It appears being a militant is more lucrative than any other enterprise in Nigeria,” he tweeted.

    Another tweet amplifying the claim

    Brief on repentant Boko Haram members 

    The Federal government of Nigeria, through the Defence Headquarters, inaugurated Operation Safe Corridor (OSC) in 2015. 

    Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) posited that the programme’s aim was to rehabilitate Boko Haram militants and reintegrate the “repentant” ones back into their respective communities as productive law-abiding citizens. 

    “The defecting members will acquire vocational training and access training in civics and de-radicalisation, to become useful members of their society upon release from the program. Since OSC’s commencement in May 2016, many have expressed strong reservation and criticism against the programme,” CDD stated. 

    The International Centre for Investigative Journalism reported that the Nigerian military is waging the Boko Haram war with kinetic and non-kinetic strategies.

    The Centre reported that kinetic is the hard-knock Operation LAFIYA DOLE; the non-kinetic is the soft-slap Operation SAFE CORRIDOR.

    “Operation SAFE CORRIDOR is what its name says: providing repentant members of Boko Haram/Islamic West Africa State Province a SAFE CORRIDOR to return to society,” the Centre reported. 

    In July 2020, the Defence Headquarters announced that it reintegrated 601 repentant Boko Haram terrorists including 14 foreign nationals from Cameroon, Chad, and Niger into the society through their respective national and state authorities.

    The Coordinator of Operation Safe Corridor, Major General Bamidele Shafa, said that the concept of Operation Safe Corridor was a unique non-kinetic operation aimed at giving hope to ex-combatants, who willingly give up their arms to embrace peace.

    But how true is the claim that they earn N150,000 monthly? 

    Verification

    The Federal Government has debunked the claim that repentant Boko Haram members are on a monthly remuneration of N150,000.

    The Personal Assistant to President Muhammadu Buhari on New Media, Bashir Ahmed, posted on his twitter handle, @BashirAhmaad, that the claim that repentant Boko Haram members earned monthly remuneration is false. 

    “FAKE NEWS ALERT: The Federal Government is NOT planning to start paying repented Boko Haram members N150,000 monthly, the story is baseless and should be regarded as the usual fake news. When you see it here or on WhatsApp, ask the poster to provide a credible source of the story,” he tweeted

    The FG’s tweet debunking the claim

    Similarly, a report published by Daily Post Nigeria also debunked the claim

    Similarly, the Special Assistant to thePresident on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, has said that repentant Boko Haram members have not been employed in the Military and this also means the said monthly remuneration would not also be for those employed in the military.

    “None of the 601 former Boko Haram members who voluntarily laid down their arms, and have recently graduated from the Federal Government’s de-radicalisation and rehabilitation programme, is admitted into the military. This is the fourth such graduation of repentant Boko Haram fighters and not one of such graduates has been absorbed into the military,” Shehu said

    However, contrary to the claim that repentant Boko Haram members receive N150,000 stipend, the Government of Borno state has revealed that the repentant terrorists reintegrated into their communities were given N20,000 stipends and some basic equipment to start their respective vocations.

    The Borno State Commissioner for Information, Babakura Jatau, said the funds and the starter packs were given to the repentant terrorists by the North East Development Commission (NEDC) and the International Organisation for Migration.

    Meanwhile, in February, 2020, Vanguard reported that following the commencement of the payment of the new minimum wage in January 2020, a Private Soldier was paid the sum of N50, 000 as salary, with only N2,000 increment from the previous N48,000 salary.

    The report said the Private Soldiers were underpaid compared to their colleagues in the Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force, who received the sum of N74,000 each, translating to an increment of N23,000.

    A subsequent report by Vanguard revealed that the discrepancy was sorted out, thereby bringing the salary of a Private Soldier to N70,000 currently. 

    Conclusion

    Evidence shows that repentant Boko Haram members are not on N150,000 remuneration. The Federal Government has debunked the claim. At best, evidence shows some of them got a one-off grant of N20,000 to start their respective trades. Meanwhile, the claim that soldiers in Nigeria earn N65,000 monthly is False. Following the implementation of the new minimum wage this year, Soldiers in Nigeria currently earn N70,000 and above. 

    The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with Daily Trust to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.  

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