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CDD Fact-Check Report_Did Atiku sign a pact to cede part of Borno to Boko Haram?

CDD Fact-Check Report

FACT CHECK: Did Atiku sign a pact to cede part of Borno to Boko Haram?

Last Sunday a sponsored post under the handle Naija 24h was published on Instagram with the titled: ATIKU REVEALS PLAN TO HAND OVER LAND IN BORNO STATE AND OIL TO BOKO HARAM IN EXCHANGE FOR CEASE-FIRE.

According to the post, which has since gathered over 24,000 likes and 470 comments, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar revealed his plan for peace with the terrorist group, Boko Haram, by granting it limited autonomy in Borno State and oil.

The post attributed the release of far-reaching memorandum titled: “New Deal for Security of the Nation” to a spokesperson of Atiku’s campaign, Kassim Afegbua.

“The memorandum reveals in broad terms a plan to hand over a swthe of land compromising of some 30,000 square kilometres in Borno state into a semi-autonomous government headed by Boko Haram. In order to ensure the fulfilment of security requirements, the future Boko government will be limited in various aspects such as foreign relations, procurement of arms, and access to the international banking system.” The post alleged.

It claimed that the handover will be done gradually over three years in accordance with the terrorist group’s compliance with the peace agreement. It also alleged that funding for the alleged Boko Haram semi-autonomous republic will be based on  giving the group 2 percent of the country’s oil proceeds.

The post then claim that Mr Atiku previously alluded to this plan in an interview where claimed he knew how the Boko haram was formed.

“I happen to know how Boko Haram came into being. They were offshoots of political thuggery. Politicians used those boys in Boko Haram to win elections and then abandoned them and then there were no jobs for them,” it claimed Atiku said in an interview in November.

Naija 24h

On Instagram one can neither follow the handle, Naija 24h, nor view its profile and cannot see who it follows and who is following the handle. The post in particular appears to have been sponsored, which could be the reason for its high engagement rate.

Online searches by the fact-checkers from the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) show that Naija 24h is an entertainment blog (www.naija24h.net) that also post political and sports news. It also has a Facebook page

Also, the post about the alleged memorandum signed by Boko Haram and Atiku appears nowhere except on the blog’s website, Instagram and Facebook pages.

The facts

But how true is the information contained in the post?

First, the sponsors of the post did not present any form of proof such as copies of the memorandum allegedly signed between Atiku and the terrorist group. We also searched the internet to see if this signing had been reported by any credible news organisation. We found none.

Boko Harams avowed aim is to create an Islamic caliphate in Nigeria and to “purify Islam in northern Nigeria.” It is hard to believe that such a murderous group like Boko Haram will sign a memorandum of understanding with a presidential candidate, whose home state has suffered the brunt of the group’s campaign of terror.

Having said that one needs to look at the legality of alleged agreement. What does the Nigeria law say about ceding and part of the country to an organisation or individual? Does the President of the country have the constitutional power to unanimously cede a part of the country to an individual group or organisation?

Chapter One, section 2 of the 1999 Constitution stated that “Nigeria is one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign state to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Any agreement that sought to break cede a part of the country without a review of the constitution and the contribution of the other arms of government will be deemed unconstitutional.

Also, Boko Haram has been declared a terrorist organisation, any agreement reached with them will be illegal and not legally bounding in the eye of the law in Nigeria.

CDD also reached out to Afegbua who was alleged to have released the memorandum between Atiku and Boko haram and sent us a statement denying it completely.

“My attention has just been drawn to an utterly useless, stupid and reckless news report wherein the hack writer tried to credit me with a statement I never issued concerning a purported deal with Boko Haram should Alhaji Atiku Abubakar win the 2019 presidential election,” he said.

“Those who know me would concede that I do not issue statements in such manner especially on an issue that is far from true. The Atiku Presidential project is anchored on a well-researched document that has gone public, put together by some of the best brains we have in the country. There is nowhere in that utility-driven document that any reference was made of partnering with Boko Haram.

“In fact, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has stated that when he assumes office as a democratically elected president this year, he will confront the Boko Haram insurgency with utmost commitment and the might it deserves. It is the believe of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar that we have left the Boko Haram fight to linger for long and it is about time we deployed the necessary arsenal to uproot them from the North-East and any other part of the country where they presently operate,” he added.

Verdict

From the above analysis, CDD can confidently say that the news of the alleged pact with Boko Haram is FALSE.

 

Beware of Fake News. Don’t Peddle it! Don’t Spread it!

The fake news project of the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), an independent and non-partisan organization, is to counter electoral misinformation and promote peaceful elections in 2019.

 

Signed:

Idayat Hassan

Director

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