No, IT student not behind MTN subscribers’ debt cancellation


An X account, @AkpraiseMedia, posted a photo showing a young man standing handcuffed amid two policemen with a claim that it shows the student undergoing Industrial Training (internship) at the telecommunication firm, MTN Nigeria Ltd, who purportedly cleared the debt of customers in November 2023.

Earlier in November, many Nigerian users of the network who borrowed airtime woke up to see their debts being cleared by the company. The debts were later reverted few days after. 

The claim posted on Saturday, December 9, 2023, reads: “The IT student who allegedly cleared all MTN users debt has reportedly been arrested.”

The post has generated over 1500 reposts and more than 8,500 likes as of Sunday, December 10, 2023. 



Photo shows MTN’s student intern who purportedly cleared customers’ debts. 

Screenshot of the viral image alongside the claim.


Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is FALSE. 

The FactCheckHub subjected the image to Google Reverse Image search and the results show that the image has been online since 2014. 

Findings show that an earlier version of the picture was posted by the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on November 5, 2014 reportedly showing one Jeffery Ozuka Okafor, a fugitive that fled to Nigeria from the United Kingdom over murder allegations.

Okafor was arrested by Nigeria Police Force on 23rd September, 2014 in Asaba, Delta State, after fleeing the United Kingdom over the alleged murder of one Carl Beatson Asiedu on 1st August, 2009 in London.

Screenshot of official response from the MTN support via X.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria had earlier clarified in a post on X that an unexpected glitch in its system caused the cancellation of debts owed by its network subscribers; meaning that it was not a deliberate action by the company.

The FactCheckHub further contacted the MTN Support on X to further verify the claim. An agent of the telecom company who identified himself as Joseph confirmed that the information is not true.



The claim that the image in circulation shows a student intern who purportedly cleared the debts of MTN subscribers is FALSE; findings show that the image shows a murder suspect arrested by the Nigerian police in 2014.

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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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