Claim: Donald Trump released the names of corrupt Nigerian politicians and the amount they looted.
Nigeria’s presidential election is usually a keenly contested race. Next year, 18 candidates from different political parties will contest the presidency.
As the general election closes in, misinformation has become a common phenomenon, with loyalists of the various candidates jostling to discredit their perceived opponents.
Recently, a video surfaced online claiming former president of the United States, Donald Trump, has released names of corrupt Nigerian politicians. The clip has continued to make the rounds on social media, particularly on the WhatsApp messaging app.
The video, which was also shared to a WhatsApp group this reporter belongs to, can be easily traced to a TikTok account operated by @Ogidinjaba1. The video has been watched over 280,000 times.
A supporting caption reads, “What a stupid country, and some people are there still talking (sic) that they would vote for APC again, all Nigerian youths should open their eyes ohh, this time around everyone should vote carefully.”
Though the TikTok user posted the video on August 16, 2022, it was shared on WhatsApp and has since been re-shared several times. It was observed that the video had been shared over 10,000 times and gained over 5,000 likes.
“On the news today, Trump releases names of Nigerian politicians who stocked looted funds overseas. The US government unveils 16 richest politicians from Nigeria and names of US banks they stored public funds they stole, names, banks and amount,” a female voice-over artist announced.
Top of the list was the first lady of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, who was alleged to have stored $2.9 Billion in JP Morgan Chase Bank New York, followed by Colonel Abubakar Lawal, who stored $2.5 billion in American Express New York; Garba Shehu was alleged to have stored $2.3 billion in Wells Fargo Bank, San Francisco.
Others are Ahmed Idris, $2.1 billion in CitiGroup, New York; Nasir El-Rufai, $2.6 billion in CitiGroup, New York; Femi Adeshina, New York Bank of Minnesota, $1.9 billion; Babagana Monguno financial/Detroit. $1.8 billion; Tukur Buratai. BB&T/ North Carolina. $2.9 billion; Abayomi Olonisakin, Citigroup/ New York. $2.3 billion, among others.
A keyword search on Google showed that the claim first surfaced online in 2017 when Trump was still president of the United States. At the time, it was published on the popular platform Nairaland with over 27 names listed.
Also, the video was posted on YouTube in October 2020 and on Facebook in May 2022.
But how true is the claim?
Donald Trump is the immediate past president of the United States. He was elected president during the November 8, 2016, election. After his four-year tenure, the 45th president re-contested for the same position but lost to the incumbent, Joe Biden.
DUBAWA searched on Google to ascertain if Mr Trump indeed released a list of corrupt Nigerian politicians during his tenure. However, the search returned only the recirculation of the claim on Nigerian blogs. Checks showed no credible media outlet – local and international – reposted the claim.
Further checks also revealed the report was not found on the United States Government website, where government activities were usually documented.
Meanwhile, DUBAWA observed that a similar fact-check had been done by the Center for Democracy and Development in 2019, proclaiming the claim as false.
Despite this, some people are still circulating the claim. The engagement garnered by the clip each time it appears online is not unconnected to perceptions in some quarters that corruption is a rife and major problem in Nigeria.
Premium Times in April 2018 reported that Mr Trump regarded Nigeria as a country with “a massive corruption problem.”
In a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, Trump said Nigeria has a massive reputation for corruption but promised that the country would continue to support Nigeria to find a lasting solution to the menace.
The claim that Trump released names of corrupt Nigerian politicians is false. There is no evidence to back up the claim.