Photo does not show vehicles seized from Bello Matawalle

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A photo showing some vehicles buried underground has surfaced online with a claim that they were seized from Bello Matawalle, a former Governor of Zamfara state.

An X user, @four_unit, posted the photo on January 5, 2024 with a caption thus:

“Breaking news: 5/1/24. Discovered & sized from Fulani Ex-Gov of Zamfara state, Tinubu’s current Minister of State for Defence.  this criminal hides money in $£€ inside vehicles buried underground.”

The post has garnered about 200 reposts and more than 90 likes as of January 13, 2024.

The FactCheckHub observed that another X user, @VANPDPNg had posted the same image earlier on December 14, 2023, with a similar caption that read:

“Discovered and sized from Ex-Gov of Zamfara state, your current Minister of State for Defence.”

The post has garnered over 170,000 views, more than 400 reposts, over 500 likes and about 400 comments as of January 13, 2024.

Also, the photo has been circulating widely in multiple WhatsApp groups, our researcher observed.

Muhammed Bello Matawalle, who was the immediate-past Governor of Zamfara state, is currently Nigeria’s minister of State for Defence.

 

CLAIM 

Photo shows vehicles seized from former governor of Zamfara state, Bello Matawalle.

Screenshot of the viral post on X. INSERT: Misleading verdict.

THE FINDINGS

Findings by The FactCheckHub show that the claim is MISLEADING

When the image was subjected to Google Reverse Image search, the results show that the photo was shared by a Reddit user in November 2023 with a claim that the vehicles were hidden by former corrupt Afghan politicians.

The photo appeared on the platform some weeks before it started going viral on social media in Nigeria. 

The image is also one of the images shared by an X user, @Aboodysay on the same date with a caption that read: 

“Look at what forces of IEA discover in Balkh Province. Brand new LCs hidden underground.”

Balkh is a village in the northern part of Afghanistan.

The FactCheckHub cannot independently confirm whether vehicles or cash were seized from Matawalle, but findings show the image is unconnected to happenings in Nigeria.

The Punch reported on January 12, 2024 that the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has vowed to revisit the probe of the Minister of State for Defence, Bello Mattawalle, over alleged N70 billion money laundering while he was the Zamfara State governor. However, there was no media mention of vehicles or cash seized from him.

 

THE VERDICT

The claim that the photo shows vehicles seized from Bello Matawalle is MISLEADING; findings revealed that the image is unrelated to any incident in Nigeria.

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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