CJN Walter Onnoghen did not meet with Atiku Abubakar in Dubai


A number of Facebook posts have shared a photo claiming that the embattled Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen, met with the leading opposition presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, in Dubai.

CrossCheck Nigeria,  a collaboration of newsrooms in Nigeria which includes The ICIR, has confirmed that the claim is false: the photo is mislabeled, and actually shows Atiku meeting with his vice presidential candidate Peter Obi.

In the photo, Atiku is sitting with several men during a meeting. A red circle is drawn around Peter Obi, but the caption misidentifies him as CJN Onnoghen.

The claim was first made by two Facebook pages, “Hausa Press” and “I Will Go Slow And Steady ‘PMB & Nasir El-Rufa’I’” on January 30, 2019.

As of 3:00 pm on February 1, 2019, the post had been shared on two Facebook pages over 450 times and had garnered nearly 200 reactions. Hausa Press has over 157,731 followers while the other page has 56,616 followers.

Upon investigation, CCN found the claim to be misleading and mislabelled for the following reasons:

  1. On October 29, 2018, when the picture was taken and shared on the twitter page of Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, Justice Walter Onnoghen was in Nigeria and not in Dubai as claimed by the Facebook pages.
  2. The person which the Facebook pages referred to as CJN Walter Onnoghen was actually Mr. Peter Obi, the vice-presidential candidate to Atiku Abubakar, PDP’s presidential flagbearer in the coming general election. Obi was seen in same cloth in another photo shared by Senator Murray-Bruce who was also at the Dubai meeting.
  3. The original photo was posted by a serving Senator, Ben Murray Bruce, who was among the Atiku/Obi presidential campaign team during their strategic meeting at Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE) by 7:34 pm on October 29, 2018. It has been retweeted 949 times and had garnered 389 comments and 3,686 likes.
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