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CDD Fact-Check Report_Did SSS Release a Security Alert about Movement of Boko Haram Fighters to Southern, North Central States?

 

CDD Fact-Check Report

FACT CHECK: Did SSS Release a Security Alert about Movement of Boko Haram Fighters to Southern, North Central States?

On 9 January, the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) received a purported security alert from the State Security Services, through its Fake news busting channel of social messaging app, WhatsApp.

The message claimed Boko Haram fighters were arriving en mass to the South and North Central regions of Nigeria. The message specifically mentioned Lagos, Ilorin and Rivers. The message went on to detail the numbers of the Police force state by state.

The rest of the message was a call for inhabitants of the states to take adequate security measures. According to the message, the movement of Boko Haram fighters to these states is why there were military patrol teams in strategic points in the states mentioned.

Listed in the message were the numbers of police rapid response team in every states of the federation and the police control numbers of each state in Nigeria. The writer of the message advised people to call the numbers if they spotted trouble.

CDD’s check revealed that the numbers were those of the police public relation officers and the writers of the message may have copied them from the police website where they are listed. CDD staff spoke with the Abia State and Delta State Police commands neither of has knowledge of such a message.

Similarly, when CDD reached the SSS for comments, Peter Afunanya, the secret police’s spokesperson denied knowledge of the message.

“I am not aware of this,” he said.

Verdict

CDD believes the message was written to spread fear and confusion. It could not have come from an official source. First, it was riddled with bad grammar and spelling errors. The writer used informal abbreviation common on social media such as “y” for Why, “U” for You, etc.

What is more, the states mentioned in the statement have not experienced Boko Haram attacks since the insurgency began in 2009. The insurgency has been limited to the northeast region for a number of years now. The last attacks by Boko Haram to have happened outside the northeast took place 5 years ago in 2014 – the bombing of Kano Central Mosque and in Abuja the bombings in April and May 2014 both at Nyanya.

 

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Signed:

Idayat Hassan

Director

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