False claim circulates that nobody was arrested, prosecuted for terrorist attacks in Northern Nigeria


AN X user, Shehu Ghazali Sadiq with the username: @shehusky, has claimed that the Nigerian government has never arrested and prosecuted anyone for all the terrorist attacks that happened in Northern Nigeria.

The post read: “Did you know that no terrorist is ever arrested and tried for all terror attacks in Northern Nigeria? Do you know why? It’s because the Northern political elites are the jihadists financing the terror attacks.

The post, archived here, has generated over 200,000 views, more than 3,000 retweets and over 6,000 likes as of December 28, 2023. 



No terrorist was ever arrested and prosecuted for terror attacks in Northern Nigeria.

Screenshot of the post on X. INSERT: False verdict.
Screenshot of the post on X. INSERT: False verdict.



Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE. 

Checks revealed that several people suspected to be terrorists have been arrested and prosecuted by the Nigerian government over the years. 

One of the most notable high-profile cases in history is the case of Abubakar Dikko known as Kabiru Sokoto, the mastermind of the Christmas Day bombing in Niger State in 2011. 

Sokoto, who was a senior Boko Haram operative, was first arrested on January 1, 2012 by the police, but escaped from custody two days later when he was being taken to his residence at Abaji in the Federal Capital Territory for a search.

He was re-arrested in Mutum-Biu in Gassol Local Government Area of Taraba State in February 2012 and subsequently charged for terrorism.

The Federal High Court, Abuja found him guilty of terrorism and handed him a life sentence on December 20, 2013.

Kabiru Sokoto when he was been prosecuted in court by the Nigerian government. He was later sentenced to life imprisonment by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

Another high-profile case is the case of Khalid Al-Barnawi, a former leader of the Boko Haram offshoot Ansaru, who was charged with the abduction and murder of 10 foreign nationals.

Al-Barnawi, whose real name is Usman Umar Abubakar, was arrested on April 1, 2016 by a combined team of Nigerian security agencies in Lokoja, Kogi State capital.

Apart from all these instances, there were also several cases of prosecution announced by the Nigerian government.

Earlier this year, the former President Muhammadu Buhari-led government said it prosecuted 1,500 terrorism cases and secured 397 convictions from May 2015 till the end of the last administration.

Also in 2023, Lateef Fagbemi, Nigeria’s current  Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice announced the resumption of the trial of several suspected Boko Haram members in government’s custody.

Fagbemi said the federal government secured a total of 366 convictions, while 896 others were discharged for lack of evidence.



The claim that no terrorist was ever arrested and prosecuted for terror attacks in Northern Nigeria is FALSE; publicly available evidence show that there have been arrests and prosecutions of several suspected terrorists in Nigeria over the years.

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Nurudeen Akewushola is a fact-checker with FactCheckHub. He has authored several fact checks which have contributed to the fight against information disorder. You can reach him via [email protected] and @NurudeenAkewus1 via Twitter.


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