On September 7, 2021, former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, took to social media handles to celebrate the victory of the Nigerian Army over bandits in the northern states, particularly Zamfara where the government had declared a shutdown of telecommunications services.

 

He attached pictures to a post that reads: “In Zamfara state and all over the core North today our brave fighters and gallant warriors are KICKING THE ARSE and beating the daylights out of the bloodthirsty killer bandits and blood-lusting murderous terrorists... This is like music to my ears! I am proud to be a Nigerian again! Keep going boys and hit them with all you have got. Thanks for your courage and sacrifice! Al Hamdu! Praise the LORD! Glory, Hallelujah! ” Screenshot of the Facebook post

 

This post has garnered over 1,000 likes and reshared by 176 people.

Screenshot of the same post on Twitter

 

The Nigeria Communications Commission had ordered network operators to suspend telecommunications networks in Zamfara State to disrupt communications among bandits.

 

 

The network outage which started on September 3 and was initially planned to stop on September 17 has since continued, following an announcement by Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State, noting that the ban on mobile telecommunications networks will remain until security personnel win the fight against insecurity in the state.

 

Zamfara in Northwest Nigeria is one of the states worst hit by banditry in the country which has been attributed to the fact that it is mostly surrounded by forests (with little or no government presence) from where bandits launch their attacks on outlying towns, highways, and villages.

 

 

In July, a survey conducted by SBM Intelligence showed that about 2, 371 persons had been abducted across the country within the first six months of the year.

 

 

The report indicated that Niger State recorded the highest number of persons abducted, with 643 victims in 28 kidnap incidents, while 58 people were killed during the abductions.

 

 

This was followed by Zamfara State with 519 kidnap victims in seven incidents leading to the death of 22 people, while Kaduna State recorded 360 kidnap victims in 26 incidents, leading to the deaths of 41 persons.

 

 

Fani-Kayode's social media applause comes after his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

 

 

Last Thursday, 16th of September, the former Minister of Aviation formally joined the APC.­

 

 

Prior to this, Fani-Kayode has taken to applauding APC governors and even the President, Muhammadu Buhari, whom he had, on several occasions, criticised. 

 

 

Claim: Former Aviation Minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, recently shared some photos to celebrate what he claimed to be scenes of an onslaught on bandits in Zamfara and other northern states by the Nigerian Army. 

 

 

Verdict: The pictures shared by the former minister are from separate events both within and outside the country. Some are at least four years old. 

 

Verification

A Google Reverse Image Search of the images showed that the photographs shared by Fani-Kayode to his 711 thousand followers on Facebook and 1 million followers on Twitter were taken from other platforms both within and outside the country. 

 

 

Further checks by Dubawa revealed one of the photos dates back to 2017 as seen on the Defense Nigeria site alongside other pictures with the title, “Operation Lafya Dole: Ground Component. The Assault and Capture of Sambisa.”

Screenshot of the recycled image used on Defense Nigeria website in 2017

 

The second photo which was first seen online on May 16, 2019 was taken when Police officers paraded 93 suspected kidnappers and armed robbers before the press in Katari Village along the Abuja/Kaduna highway, in Kaduna State.

 

The police also displayed a huge cache of weapons recovered from the criminals. The story was also published here.

Screenshot of another image which dates back to 2019


Using the InVid reverse image search buttons, the third image shared by Fani-Kayode was seen on a website used in a story on April 8, 2021.

The same photo had been used for generic illustration by Legit.ng in June 2021.

Screenshot of the image on Legit.ng in April, 2021

 

 

 

Another image shared by Fani-Kayode had been used on TVC Entertainment website as far back as August 2016.

Screenshot of the image on TVC Entertainment website in 2016

 

 

The image of a test of weapons shared by Fani-Kayode had been taken from North Korea. A report in the Telegraph UK showed that the photo was taken at an undisclosed location in the country. 

Screenshot of the image on a foreign website from August 2020

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

 

The photographs shared by the former minister were recycled as they are not a true representation of the activities happening in Zamfara State. However, the governor of the state had claimed military recorded success in their operations against bandits during the period.

 

 

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

 

 

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