Security

  • Recent footage of burnt bodies from Tanzania, not Nigeria as claimed

    Claim: A WhatsApp video has a claim that bandits were roasted by lightning on their way to attack Christians in Zamfara state.

    Our findings show the video attached to the claim is from a tanker explosion that took place in Morogoro town of Tanzania, not Nigeria. The claim is therefore misleading. 

    Full Text

    In recent time, Nigeria has recorded killings perpetrated by terrorists. A church at Owo, Ondo State, and the ones that left three killed in Kaduna churches, prayers against banditry are not far-fetched from religious Nigerians. 

    Posing as an answer to these prayers is a video of burnt bodies that circulated on WhatsApp and Facebook. Accompanying the video is a claim that this footage is of bandits who were struck by lightning while on their way to attack some christians in Zamfara state.

    “It happened in Zamfara State yesterday. I was told the Bandits were going to attack some Christians on their way Lightning and Thunder struck and they were roasted beyond measure. Who told you there is no GOD?,”the message read. 

    This video has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp groups alongside the caption. 

    The claim has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp

    On Facebook, this same message has been shared by several users who believed it to be true.

    These Facebook users believed it was true

    In the past, DUBAWA had found claims like this either false or misleading. Hence, the reason for this fact-check.

    Verification

    As of the time of this verification, no media platform in Nigeria has reported that bandits were struck by lightning. Usually, such an event would make headlines in newspapers. Seeing it has not been reported is the first red flag.

    DUBAWA further observed that the viral claim neither stated the exact location of such happening in Zamfara nor disclosed the name of the Christian gathering the supposed bandits were planning to attack.

    Further checks revealed that the exact video has also been used by a blog to paint a similar narrative in 2021. However, like the recent ones, it did not say where such an event happened in Zamfara State.

    Screenshot of the claim published by a blog in 2021

    After watching the video in question, DUBAWA could see an explosion scene which clearly negates the narrative of “lightning” and “thunder.”

    Following that, a YouTube keyword search was conducted and among the many explosion videos that surfaced, a 2020 report by Al Jazeera and NTV Kenya was similar to the video being circulated.

    Al Jazeera reported that 60 people were feared dead after a tanker exploded in Morogoro town, Tanzania. The tanker had earlier fallen and “people came to take what they could. But then, disaster,” it said. 

    Al Jazeera also said that despite the help of emergency workers to save those that were caught up in the flames, it was too late and many were burnt beyond recognition. The motorcycles of people who came to collect fuel were also burnt.

    Al Jazeera’s report in 2020

    A side-by-side comparison of the circulating video and Al Jazeera’s report showed three similarities. Firstly, standing before the burning tanker are trees that have also been affected by the fire. Secondly, the tanker is lying in the same position as seen in the two videos. And thirdly, the two videos showed many burnt motorcycles.

    Comparison 1: On the right is a screenshot from the circulating video and on the left is Al Jazeera’s report
    Comparison 2:  On the right is a screenshot from the circulating video and on the left is Al Jazeera’s report

    In order to determine which language was spoken by the people in the circulating video, DUBAWA reached out to Muhammad Auwal, an Hausa-speaking Nigerian to translate what the people in the video say. However, not able to comprehend what he heard, he doubted if the speakers were Hausas. 

    One of them responded, “I can’t actually understand what they are saying. Are you sure it is any of the Nigerian Languages? Is the scene Nigeria?”

    Likewise, Abba Adamu, a Hausa staff member of Daily Trust newspaper confirmed that the language spoken in the video was not Hausa.

    “It’s not Hausa,” he simply said after watching the video.

    Conclusion

    Our findings show the video attached to the claim is from a tanker explosion that took place in Morogoro town of Tanzania, not anywhere in Nigeria. The claim is therefore misleading.

  • This is not image of repentant bandit absorbed as customs officer

    Claim: Multiple social media users claimed that a Nigeria Customs Service officer in a recent viral video is one of the repentant bandits “recruited” into the security forces in the country.

    The claim that repentant bandits are being recruited into the Nigerian Army and other security forces is spurious and misleading. The people in the two photos are entirely different.

    Full Text

    Nwaiwu Chiukwuebuka, a Facebook user, in a post on Saturday, October 16, had shared pictures of a Nigeria Customs Service officer and that of a supposedly repentant bandit.

    According to him, the officer is one of the repentant bandits recruited to a significant security force in the country.

    He also raised an alarm that members of Boko Haram are “being recruited into the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police and other Nigeria security bodies.”

    Chiukwuebuka, whose Facebook bio reads “Protest writer and a patriotic unapologetic Biafran,” wrote:

    “From Bandit to Nigeria custom Officer, same way Boko Haram is being recruited into the Nigeria Army, Nigeria Police and other Nigeria security bodies.”

    The post, spurious as it appears, was widely shared, with 344 reshares and 24 reactions amassed as of Tuesday, October 19. 

    Using the Crowdtangle web extension, a  further check showed that another Facebook user with over 22,000 followers, Chinasa, Nworu, shared the picture.

    Nworu, whose Facebook profile showed that he works at “Radio Biafra,”  shared the post on October 16, and it amassed 2,100 shares, 126 comments and 294 reactions.

    In the same vein on Twitter, a user with username @hashtag2weet with over 6,000 followers also shared the picture on Sunday, October 17. Findings by Dubawa also revealed that many WhatsApp users have re-shared the photo.

    Banditry in Nigeria 

    Banditry, over recent times, has presented itself in forms of organised crimes including kidnapping, cattle rustling, mass abduction, arson, and armed robbery.

    The security record in Nigeria showed that it began as a farmer-herder crisis in some states in northeast Nigeria like Zamfara, Katsina and Kaduna, where it was first treated as a local affair.

    Triggered by poverty and a break of leadership trust, banditry in Nigeria has festered into what appears like full-blown terrorism, with its activities climaxed by the recent shooting of a military fighter jet.

    According to ACAPS, a non-profit, non-governmental project providing international, independent humanitarian analysis, between March 2020 and June 2021, over 1,400 students and staff have been kidnapped in several school abductions reported in northwest Nigeria. 

    These abductions took place in Kankara and Mahuta (Katsina state), Kagara and Tegina (Niger state), Jangebe and Maradun (Zamfara state), Mando, Afaka, and Kasarami (Kaduna state), and Birnin Yauri (Kebbi state).

    State and federal governments have been taking some bold steps to eradicate banditry, including a special package for repentant bandits.

    Like Operation Safe Corridor (OSC), Nigeria’s de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme for repentant Boko Haram members and bandits are promised a huge reward if they surrender their arms.

    In February 2021, Auwalu Daudawa, a bandit leader who masterminded the kidnapping of schoolboys in Kankara, Katsina, surrendered over 22 weapons, including sophisticated AK-47 rifles.

    Daudawa dropped his arms for the operative from the Zamfara police command alongside other bandits. However, he later returned to the forest to continue banditry, having been allegedly dissatisfied by the promise made to him by the government.

    He was tragically killed during a gun duel with a rival gang at Dumburum forest located between Zurmi local government in Zamfara and Batsari local government in Katsina.

    Before that, in January 2021, seven notorious bandits said they had repented and surrendered their weapons to the Zamfara state government. They offered 14 weapons including AK 47 rifles.

    In April 2021, the Katsina police command said four bandits “voluntarily surrendered” their weapons including AK-47 rifles.

    The conspiracy theory

    Although the suspicious surrender of bandits has been described as a leap forward in the battle against banditry, many people believe that these blood-craving criminals including Boko haram terrorists are being given a soft landing despite their documented numerous atrocities.

    The government officials’ colourful media parade of repentant bandits, coupled with the privileges they enjoy after dropping their weapons have since created a conspiracy theory that often lead to a whirlpool of debates on whether these criminals are being recruited into the major security forces in the country.

    On Thursday, September 2, the Nigerian Army announced that almost 6,000 ex-terrorists had surrendered to the government.

    But before the announcement, specifically in 2019, General Abdulmalik Biu, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the 7 Division, urged terrorists to lay down their arms.

    Biu said a repentant terrorist “stands to be a president of this country; he stands to aspire to any position in this country.”

    This statement created a fuss and fuelled the conspiracy theory about repentant terrorists being recruited into the Nigerian Army.

    In several defences in the past, the military force had debunked the recruitment claim and described it as false and misleading, “laced with mediocrity emanating from a poorly researched and uninformed position.”

    Verification

    Claim 1: Are Boko Haram and bandits being recruited into the Nigerian Army?

    Although there are unintelligible claims that repentant bandits and Boko Haram terrorists are getting recruited into the security forces in the country, findings by Dubawa showed that they are just products of febrile imaginations of some people and mere conspiracy theories. There is no record to back it up!

    In December 2019, the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) dismissed the alleged recruitment of deredicalised Boko Haram ex-fighters into the Nigerian military.

    Onyema Nwachukwu, the acting director of defence information emphasized in a statement that “contrary to claims, no Boko Haram ex-fighter has been recruited into the Nigerian military and no such plan is in the offing.

    The de-radicalisation, rehabilitation and reintegration programme is a Federal Government programme conducted under the auspices of Operation Safe Corridor as a non-kinetic operation,” he added.

    Similarly in August 2021, the Nigerian Army also denied that it was recruiting ex-Boko Haram fighters and bandits into the force.

    For the avoidance of doubt, the NA does not have any repentant terrorists joining its ranks and does not have any plan for that. There are teaming able-bodied Nigerians that are willing to join the NA and genuinely help in the fight against terrorism and other violent crimes,” Brig-Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, director, Army public relations, said.

    Meanwhile, there are records that some repentant ex-terrorists are being reintegrated back into the society. 

    In May 2021, Nigerian Military announced that 603 repentant Boko Haram terrorists who have been rehabilitated would be reintegrated into the society in June.

    Claim 2: Is the Nigerian Customs Service officer in a recent viral video a repentant bandit?

    The Facebook user claimed NCS officer in the picture is a former bandit. Credit: Facebook

    Verifying this claim, Dubawa ran a Yandex reverse image separately for the two collaged photos. 

    The first Yandex search showed Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina state ‘posing’  with some bandits who surrendered their arms.

    The second picture, a screenshot, was taken from a recent viral video of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) officer hilariously saluting his superior. 

    The original video is found on The Punch newspaper’s Instagram page, and Nollywood actor Victor Osuagwu’s IG handle.

    A further search by Dubawa in respect to the first image showed that between 2019 and 2020, Governor Masari of Katsina, in a bid to lure errant youths out of banditry, met with some leaders of banditry who came to surrender their weapons. 

    In a report contained in Leadership newspaper, the Katsina governor was reported to have “presided over the state’s security council meeting with repentant bandits and others specifically dedicated to the contentious issues of banditry and kidnapping.”

    In November 2020, Masari was reported to have received two repentant bandit leaders named Sale Turwa and Muhammed Sani Maidaji at the Government House in Katsina.

    Are the two the same person?

    Dubawa used an InVID’s Keyframe tool to analyse the video where the second image was taken. The result broke the footage into six frames, showing each image clearly.

          Keyframe result on the video of the Customs officers.

    The fourth frame from the result above, which looks like the one being shared in the claim, was subjected to Magnifier image analysis. Again, results showed no facial resemblance (nose, mouth and eye) between the “repentant” bandit and Customs operative mischievously shared as the same person.

                          Result of the Magnifier image analysis showed there is no resemblance.

    Conclusion

    The two pictures being shared are different and the claim surrounding them is false and highly misleading. Besides, no record showed that ex-Boko Haram fighters and bandits are being recruited into the Nigerian Army.

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

  • Picture depicting bandits using drones not from Nigeria

    Claim:  A social media user claimed bandits are using drones to perfect operations as they continue their heinous attack in the northern part of the country.

    The picture shared by the Facebook user is not from Nigeria but Burkina Faso, and it dates back to April 2021. Similarly, the gadgets in the photo belonged to journalists killed in Pama Reserve in Burkina Faso, not drones by bandits in Nigeria.

    Full Text

    A Facebook user, Radhiyyat Taiye, in a post on Sunday, September 26, 2021, shared a picture of some gadgets, including phones, a pouch, a power bank, and others.

     The gadgets in the picture were claimed to belong to bandits. Credit: Facebook

    Referring to the picture, the social media user claimed that bandits are now using drones as they continue to wreak havoc on vulnerable communities in the northern part of Nigeria.

    The photo post amassed 53 likes and 23 comments, with many reactions aligning with the poster’s position.

    “The bandits have and use drones. Alhamdulillah (praised be to God) for the successes of our security forces. So far, so good,” she authoritatively claimed.

    Rodhiyyat’s post came amid ongoing military operations against bandits, Boko Haram terrorists, kidnappers, and perpetrators of other sundry crimes in northwest and northeast Nigeria.

    Banditry in Nigeria

    A code name for organised crimes like kidnapping, cattle rustling, mass abduction, arson, and armed robbery, banditry is one of the biggest nightmares in northwest Nigeria, which began to expand as non-state political actors try to jeopardize the communal peace and take control of vulnerable communities.

    Current conflict situations in Nigeria showed that what is termed banditry has been in existence over the last 20 years. This is clearly manifested as a result of acute leadership failure, a break in the political chain of trust, and irresponsibility of government in safeguarding borders, protecting and providing for its citizens.

    Before metamorphosing from farmer-herder crisis into what appears to be terrorism– banditry was treated as a local affair as past governments in states like Zamfara negotiated with aggrieved youths who are carrying guns against the unarmed civilians.

    Although largely unconnected with the Boko Haram carnage, bandits have shown higher resilience in their operation climaxed by the shooting of a military fighter jet.

    According to ACAPS, a non-profit, non-governmental project providing international, independent humanitarian analysis, between March 2020–June 2021, over 1,400 students and staff have been kidnapped in several school abductions reported in northwest Nigeria. 

    These abductions took place in Kankara and Mahuta (Katsina state), Kagara and Tegina (Niger state), Jangebe and Maradun (Zamfara state), Mando, Afaka, and Kasarami (Kaduna state), and Birnin Yauri (Kebbi state).

    In its report, the American Security Project Report (2021) stated that over 200,000 people had fled their communities in northern Nigeria this year, while 77,000 of them crossed the border in search of safer abodes outside the country.

    In his article titled “Banditry: Residents of North-west states reluctantly embrace stringent measures as governors unite,” a security expert and public affairs analyst, Mohammed Babangida, stated that the activities of bandits have reawakened a new strategy by the government in the fight against the evil perpetrators.

    In the collective fight against bandits’ activities, governments in some affected states have shut down schools. In September, Kaduna cut the communication lines in 13 local government areas.

    This followed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s directives for the immediate shutdown of telecommunication networks in Zamfara state.  

    Many Nigerians, including the Nigerian Senate, have called on the government to classify bandits as terrorists due to their constant attacks.

    Verification

    Using Yandex, a reverse image search, Dubawa found that the picture first appeared on the internet specifically on April 27, 2021 not in Nigeria but Burkina Faso.

    In a tweet written in French which was posted by Wassim Nasr, a famous analyst and journalist with FRANCE24, the tweep, Nasir, uploaded the picture and stated that “the material” in the photo belonged to 3 journalists (1 Irish and 2 Spanish)  “killed on the N18 near the reserve of #Pama” in Burkina Faso.

    The translation of the tweet from French to English reads “#BurkinaFaso the material of the 3 (2 #Espagne 1 #Irlande ) journalists killed on the N18 near the reserve of #Pama . Photos of the 3 remains, including one of one of the two Spanish nationals, is clearly identifiable.” The journalist wrote in a tweet that has 45 retweets and 57 likes.

    A further search by Dubawa showed that another Twitter handle,  Atlas Times, also shared the same picture posted on April 27, confirming that the journalists might have been killed.

    “#Alert: Flag of Burkina FasoFlag of SpainFlag of Ireland 4 journalists (2 Spanish, 1 Irish and 1 a Burkinabe) were kidnapped by an armed group in south eastern Flag of Burkina Faso while travelling to a natural reserve. Sources indicate that they maybe killed.#BurkinaFaso #Spain #Ireland.”

       Screenshot of the tweet by France24 journalist Wassim Nasr. Credit: Twitter.

    Using the same picture, further findings through Yandex and Google led to a publication with the headline, “Two Spanish journalists who filmed a documentary on poaching murdered in Burkina Faso” published by La Razón, a Spanish daily newspaper.

    Corroborating the position contained in Wassim’s tweet, the Madrid-based news outlet identified the murdered Spanish journalists as David Beriáin and Roberto Fraile

    It reported that they were killed “after being assaulted by an armed group while working on a documentary about poaching on the Burkina Faso border with Benin.”

    The dare-devil journalists were kidnapped some days before they were gruesomely executed while traveling through a “dangerous area because it is a field of operations.”

    An Irish journalist also lost his life in the ambush and three other people were injured; a Burkinabe citizen is still missing. No armed group has yet claimed responsibility for the crime, but the modus operandi points to the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS),” part of the report also read.

    UNESCO says murdered journalists deserved protection

    In a statement issued by its director-general Audrey Azoulay, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) described the murder as condemnable.

    The global agency’s boss said the murdered journalist deserved protection.

    “I condemn the murders of Spanish journalists David Beriain and Roberto Fraile as well as that of Irish anti-poaching activist Rory Young. Journalists must be able to carry out their work collecting and sharing information, an essential public good. They deserve protection, like rangers and environmental workers who safeguard other common goods, biodiversity and the natural environment.” part of the statement read.

    A Google search brought multiple and credible sources confirming the death of the journalists. Credit: Google Web Search.

    Conclusion

    The picture, though not too old, was used in a misleading context. The incident behind the image happened in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in West Africa. And contrary to the claim, the materials in the picture belonged to murdered documentary journalists, not drones used by bandits.

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

  • Video depicting Nigerian military onslaught on terrorists in Zamfara false

    Claim: A video showing several charred bodies is circulated with the claim that the Nigerian Military in Zamfara killed several bandits and terrorists during the ongoing military operation in the state. 

    The video that the Nigerian Military killed a lot of bandits or terrorists in Zamfara State is false as the video was shot in Tanzania, in 2019, when an oil tanker exploded in Moromoro, a city in Tanzania.

    Full Text  

    A 30 seconds video shared on WhatsApp depicts bandits/terrorists being “roasted” by the Nigerian Military during the ongoing military operation in Zamfara State. The video which shows numerous charred corpses and a huge burning fire also showed what appeared to be paid workers moving around. 

    The 30 seconds video shows several charred bodies and piles of burnt motorcycles. 

    The video also showed burnt out wreckages of motorcycles piled together while voices in the background were heard speaking in an unrecognizable language. Those sharing the video on WhatsApp did so with an accompanying caption which reads: “Bandits/terrorists roasted by the Nigerian military on 11/9/2021 in Zamfara.” The video, comes on the heels of the ongoing military onslaught to dislodge bandits/terrorists in Zamfara State and other parts of the North West. 

    The video is being shared on WhapsApp groups with the caption: “Bandita/terrorists roasted by the Nigerian military on 11/9/2021 in Zamfara.”

    Ongoing Military operation in Zamfara State

    Zamfara State, in north western Nigeria has in recent years become the epicenter of banditry  with abductions and killings of residents becoming a regular occurrence. To stem the tide, the governors of the northwest and that of Niger State in the north central put up certain security measures to dislodge and flush out heavily armed men terrorising communities in the region. Zamfara State first came up with the measures by closing down weekly village markets, banning the sale of petrol in Jerry cans and also the use of motorcycles in certain parts of the state. The measures were quickly replicated in Katsina, Kaduna, Niger and Sokoto states. On September 3, the Nigerian Communications Commissions directed all telecom providers to shut down services in Zamfara State. Prior to that, heavily-armed criminals in a daring attack stormed Government Day Secondary School, Kaya in Maradun LGA of the state where they abducted about 75 students who were released two weeks later in an undisclosed circumstance.

    As of September 6th, Nigerian troops backed by gunships and fighter jets had begun a massive offensive against kidnapping gangs and terrorists in the state. However, the military recently suffered a heavy casualty when 12 personnel died after gunmen overran a Forward Operations Base in Mutumji, Dansadau, near Gusau, the capital of Zamfara State.The attackers were said to have seized weapons from the killed service members and set ablaze other equipment in the facility. Premium Times reports that a source at the Defence Headquarters said, “Our troops are consolidating on successes recorded so far. Information on ongoing operations will be premature at this stage.”

    However sketchy information coming from Zamfara State opens room for speculations, especially among Nigerians eager to boast about the successes of the ongoing military operation in the state. Some media users, like the one under scrutiny, are sharing videos purportedly to boast that the Nigerian military is dealing a heavy blow to bandits/terrorists.

    Verification 

    To verify the video, our reporter took screenshots of the video to capture relevant frames which were then subjected to reverse image searches. Using Google Reverse Image Search and Tineye, the frames did not yield any tangible results. However, when the frames were subjected to Yandex reverse image search, the video appeared which was posted by Baron Myunkhauzen on April 10 2021h with an accompanying article in a foreign language. Upon further scrutiny, it was observed that the scene looked like that of a tanker explosion which prompted a keyword search on tanker explosions in Africa.    

    A Yandex reverse image search revealed a similar image from the purported Boko Haram  

    A key word search revealed that the same video appeared first in 2019 when an oil tanker heading from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city to the country’s capital in Dadoma overturned in the town of Morogoro. Typical of several communities across Africa, Aljazeera reported that residents of the community besieged the area in an attempt to scoop fuel when the fuel tanker exploded and more than 60 lives were lost. Further searches revealed that images from the 2019 video were also published by other news outlets such as The Guardian and npr news

    Conclusion 

    The video of charred bodies being circulated on WhatsApp to depict the Nigerian Military onslaught on terrorists in Zamfara State is false, as the video was shot in 2019 after a tanker explosion in Tanzania, East Africa.

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

  • Video depicting Boko haram invaded Jos false

    Claim: A video surfaced on Twitter with the claim that Boko Haram insurgents and bandits have invaded Jos, Nigeria.

    The viral video claiming Boko Haram and bandits have invaded Jos is misleading as verification has revealed that the video only showed residents running away from enforcement officers.

    Full Text

    Tension gripped Jos, the Plateau State capital, on August 14, 2021, following an attack on twenty-five people who were confirmed dead and 23 injured along Rukuba Road in Jos North Local Government Area of the state.

    After the incident, a dusk-to-dawn curfew was imposed on three Local Government Areas (Bassa, Jos South, and Jos North) to contain the escalating security threat, but a 24 hours curfew was imposed on 15 August, 2021 in Jos North Local Government Area to contain further security threats.

    Now social media users reacted differently to the incident. On August 19, a video was posted by Emeka Gift (@Emekannaoma)  with the claim that boko haram insurgents and bandits have invaded Jos Nigeria after taking over major parts of Borno.

    Screenshot of Twitter post.

    The post got 520 retweets, 38 quote retweets, 44 comments  and 324 reactions, as of August 24, 2021.

    One Twitter user, Uwaoma Darachimereze (@Udarachimereze), who believed the claim, replied “They want to practice what happened in Afghanistan in Jos Where are the military shifting always to the east for innocent youths the work has called to obey in the state of Jos Nigeria where are you what are you doing come quick to face the main problems of the country not IPOB”

    But another reply by oluwanifemi of Isoko @brokenbutloveed counterered the claim. The user wrote, “STOP SPREADING FAKE NEWS!

    “THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN THE WAY YOU’RE PAINTING IT OUT TO BE!

    “These people defiled (defied) curfew laws and came out, these guys on miles and vans are military not bandits!”

    Security is currently very sensitive especially in Plateau state, and a claim as this one requires prudent attention. It is as a result of this reality that Dubawa decided to verify the  authenticity of this claim. 

    Verification

    The video showed residents running for safety as army Hilux  and eight security men on bikers were seen passing. A feminine voice in the background could be heard laughing and saying, “kai kai! har da mota, sai shegen soro, ni dama su shiga Lai in Hausa language, meaning “fear fear… I wish the uniform could enter our street.”

    On Facebook, Dubawa saw a publication on Newsday on 16 August, 2021. It reads, “DSS have warned about Jos attack A security consultant, Onyekachi Adekoya, has said that notorious insurgent sect, Boko Haram, threatened to launch a carnage in Plateau State days before no fewer than 25 Fulani travellers were intercepted and killed by suspected Irigwe militia in Jos, the state capital. Adekoya also said the Department of State Services, months back, provided intelligence about the movement of insurgents into Plateau State”.

    When this fact checker clicked on the link to read the full story, a page not found response was returned.

    Screenshot of Newsdaily 

    Dubawa went on to conduct a keyword search on Google and it revealed that residents of Jos North Local Government Area had defied the curfew placed on the LGA and security men have been working tirelessly to make sure residents comply duly.

    The report noted that students of the University of Jos were seen boarding vehicles and villagers were seen running a few businesses, while security officials were said to be seen trying to enforce the curfew.

    So to verify this assertion, Dubawa spoke to some of the residents.

    A resident of Angwan Rukuba, Daniel Ekoja said on the 17th August 2021, security operatives around Bauchi ring road,Terminus and some parts of Jos North took laws into their hands by flogging indigenes who violated the 24hours curfews imposed by the plateau state government in Jos North. 

    “people were running for succour in my street when security men started chasing people that violated the curfew to leave the street as they were flogging indigenes with big sticks, we recorded it on our phones” he said.

    “From what happened in my neighborhood, I think this video is showing what happened in another neighborhood not Boko haram insurgents” he added

    Another resident from Tudun Wada, Christian Emmanuel, said she also saw security men chasing people that violated the curfew in her neighbourhood.

    “Security men where chasing people on our street because they didn’t adhere to the curfew imposed by the state government, people were running off the street looking for places to hide” she said

    Dubawa also conducted a keyframe analysis of the video using various reverse image search engines such as TinEye, Google reverse image search and Yandex. But there was no relevant result.

    Screenshots of key frame analysis

    Is it true that Boko haram invaded Jos?

    This fact-checker observed that  the vehicles in the video showed two army green Toyota Hilux, and  it is obvious that Boko haram Toyota Hilux is painted black with Arabic inscription.

    Image of Boko Haram vehicle
    Screenshot of army Hilux in viral video

    So to verify further that Boko Haram insurgents and bandits have invaded Jos, Dubawa contacted the Police Public Relations Officer, Plateau State Command, Gabriel Ubah Ugaba, via WhatsApp and he said the claim is a  social media propaganda, noting that

    Jos is peaceful and everyone is going about their lawful businesses.

    “Nothing of such happened on the Plateau. We should beware of fake news, please”

    This fact checker realized that the purported video was used out of its original context to paint a  misleading story. 

    Conclusion

    The viral video claiming Boko Haram and bandits have invaded Jos is misleading as verification has revealed that the video only showed residents running away from enforcement officers.

    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.

  • Hooves padded sandals worn by poachers, not bandits as claimed in this viral message

    Claim: A WhatsApp message (with attached images) claims Nigerian bandits now wear cow hooves padded sandals to deceive soldiers about their movement.

    This message is misleading. The pictures were originally shared by ‘Speak out for Animals’, an organisation that advocates for the protection of animals, and the footwear were antelope hooves padded sandals used by poachers to deter ranchers from tracking them in Kruger, South Africa.

    Full Text

    The security situation in Nigeria is dire, with various armed groups like the Boko Haram terrorists, kidnappers and bandits wreaking havoc on citizens, particularly in the Northern part of the country. Sadly, The activities of bandits have currently reached an all time high, with incessant kidnappings of students and politically exposed individuals for ransom and the destruction of lives and properties of helpless villagers. It is therefore not out of place for Nigerians to be interested in their tricks and activities.

    Recently, a message has gone viral on the social media in Nigeria, claiming bandits now wear cow-hooves padded sandals to deceive soldiers about their movements. The same pictures were shared without various captions by different individuals on social media.

    Screenshot of a version of the message (Let’s call this Version A)
    Screenshot of another image
    Screenshot of Version C

    Verification

    Dubawa did a reverse image search on Google and got a link to a message posted by ‘Speak out for Animals’, an organisation dedicated to the protection of wildlife and animals in Zimbabwe and Africa at large. The organisation is a group of “animal lawyers committed to combating wildlife crime, using the legal system”.

    ‘Speak out for Animals’  posted the images on Twitter on July 5, 2021 while a Twitter user, Kevin Piertersen posted a similar message, also on Twitter on July 3, 2021. Both messages indicate that the images were antelope hooves padded sandals wore by poachers to evade rangers, while Mr. Piertersen was particular about the fact that the sandals were worn by poachers caught in Kruger. Kruger is a town in South Africa.

    Screenshot of Kevin Pietersen’s Twitter post

    Screenshot of the message by ‘Speak out for Animals’

    Conclusion

    The animal hooves padded sandals shown in the social media messages are not those of cows, but antelopes, and the sandals are worn by poachers, not bandits operating in Nigeria’s Northern region.

  • 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. 

  • A blog claims man died from suffocation after wearing mask – experts wade in

    An Instagram post by Instablog9ja claims  a man was suffocated to death in Ogun state by a face mask.

    Misleading

    Full Text

    Since the outbreak of coronavirus, the use of a face mask was recommended as part of measures to curb the spread of the virus.

    Following this, there has been misinformation around the use of face masks leading to questions, such as are face masks protective or more harmful? Has a fine been placed on not wearing a face mask in Nigeria? Did the World Health Organisation, exempt kids, from wearing face masks? etc.

    On September 6, 2020, Instablog9ja shared a post with information that face masks suffocated a 50-year man to death in Ogun state. 

    “A 50-year old man Solomon Ede AKA Baba Rita, is dead after his lifeless body was found face down with his face mask in Alako, Abeokuta, Ogun State.”

    Excerpt from Instablog Instagram post.

    Screenshot of Instablog Instagram post.

    Verification

    A keyword search showed reports by instablog9ja and other news sites/blogs on the death of the 50-year old.

    A news site AB-TC reported that an Abeokuta security guard was suffocated to death by a face mask.

    Screenshot of AB-TC report.

    A news blog, Know Afrika, also reported that face a mask suffocated a man to death in Ogun state.

    Screenshot of Know Afrika’s report.

    Another news site, The Herald, published a similar report saying the man died after suffocating.

    Screenshot of The Herald’s report.

    A Google reverse image was done with the image shared by instablog9ja and this led to reports on the issue by newsflash247.com, orientaltimes.com, The Next Edition, etc.

    Can face masks suffocate to death?

    Although face masks have been recommended, wearing them is not as comfortable as they look. Is this known discomfort so bad that it can make one feel dizzy or lead to suffocation? 

    A study on the effects of wearing a mask concluded that in general, increased physical activity leads to more oxygen demand at our tissue level; hence, there could be a less efficient exchange of airflow. However, the severity of this differs from the wearing of face masks.

    Another study among surgeons who routinely wear surgical masks show there was an increase in heart rates and a decrease in oxygen saturation of their blood, after an hour of putting on a surgical mask.  The findings were, however, reported as inconclusive, as they did not account for factors like physical exertion and environmental conditions.

    What are experts saying?

    Doctor U. Jerry Agim, a registrar at the National Hospital Abuja, speaking with Dubawa in a phone interview said a face mask cannot suffocate an individual to death.  He noted that as a health worker, he wears a face mask at least 9hours daily and sometimes he falls asleep with it during his call duty.

    He explained there are several factors that could have led to the man’s death. Factors like intoxication from the alcohol the victim took, inability to remove face mask when feeling discomfort, underlying health issues like Asthma, COPD, cancer, pleural effusion, pulmonary oedema, Covid-19 etc. 

    Mr Agim said alcohol on its own depresses the respiratory centres and other body reflexes and can also induce hypoglycemia i.e to reduce blood sugar which can also kill an individual. He added that alcohol does not only depress the respiratory centres, it depresses the whole of the central nervous system which can result in coma.

    He noted that if a person has any of the above-mentioned health issues, wearing a face mask will cause discomfort and make it more difficult to breathe so the ideal response is to remove the mask.

    He further explained that wearing a mask in an environment with poor ventilation can reduce the person’s oxygen supply and even course dizziness or fainting spell. 

    “I can say categorically, the face mask did not suffocate him. The alcohol intoxication killed him from either one of the two mechanisms or both explained above.”

    Excerpt from Interview.

    Another medical personnel, Doctor Okpanachi Achile, who is a house officer at the Federal Medical Centre in Kogi State, told Dubawa that it is possible but the face mask is not the main cause.

    He said alcohol intake especially drunkenness can lead to aspiration- foreign bodies including stomach contents entering the airway. Aspiration he explained occurs when foreign material is inhaled into the airway. 

    He added that as drinking increases, people become sleepy or fall into a stupor and after a very high level of alcohol consumption, the respiratory system becomes depressed and the person will stop breathing. 

    According to him, Comatose patients may aspirate their vomit resulting in vomitus in the lungs, which may cause “drowning” and later pneumonia if survived. 

    He said the causes of death include asphyxiation due to a blocked airway and irritation or infection of the respiratory tract due to inhaled material, or aspiration pneumonia.

    Speaking on the face mask, he said the face mask could have increased the risk of aspiration by obstructing the outflow of the vomitus. A soaked face mask he said is a very poor medium for gaseous exchange. “In a man with the already compromised respiratory system, it’s like adding insult to injury,” he said.

    “Not anybody that sleeps with a face mask will just die. There are other factors, which is the major cause. Depending on the circumstance, it is not just a clear cut that it is because he wore a face mask but the face mask worsened whatever happened to him.”

    Excerpt from interview

    Conclusion

    Although the use of a face mask can cause discomfort, it is not proven that it can suffocate an individual. So there is a need to continue to wear them as outlined by the guidelines of Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) as long as health authorities see them as necessary in a pandemic.

  • Did Femi Adesina Compare Bombs To Beheading?

    Facebook page attributed shocking insensitive statements to Femi Adesina.

    The inciting and insensitive remarks did not come from Femi Adesina. A television interview was rather misconstrued and distorted.

    Full Text

    The inciting Facebook post by Hope for Nigeria has left many with mixed reactions. Till date, it has amassed over 524 reactions to it with 362 shares and 867 comments thus far.

    Verification

    Femi Adesina is a Nigerian journalist and government official; the special adviser to the President Muhammadu Buhari on media and publicity.

    Ordinarily, in an environment, without prejudice, no public figure will utter this kind of statement knowing fully well how viral it will go. Hence, something this colourful would normally be discarded. However, we live in different times…

    The Original Premise

    The claim blew out of proportion content from Mr Adesina’s interview on Channels television, Sunday politics segment.

    In the interview, Mr Femi said the state of security in this regime is not as bad as it used to be way back in 2015. He mentioned that “the difference between 2015 and now is the difference between Heaven and Hell”.

    Mr Femi in his statement also said that everyone should be thankful and appreciative of the present situation as things security-wise are better.

    In the over 50 minutes interview, Mr Femi did not mention the fact that beheading is the new norm of terrorists as Hope for Nigeria asserted. Similarly, he did not jest on the security matter but rather was defending the current government; citing its acclaimed achievements in reducing the various acts of terrorism in the country.

    Excerpt from Premium Times

    Premium Times‘ publication gives further insight into the matter.

    How credible is “Hope for Nigeria”?

    This is not the first or tenth time we have flagged the Hope for Nigeria Facebook page for misinformation. Consequently, we advise you to take their credibility under advisement when reviewing (or believing) content published in the future.

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