A number of online publications have claimed that leading opposition presidential candidate, Abubakar Atiku, was on Wednesday, January 30, besieged by members of police and men of the Department of State Services in his Abuja residence.
The claim was first made by Hope for Nigeria and later duplicated by Facebook pages Dailymail Gist and Atikulated.
In four hours, the post had been shared on Hope For Nigeria’s Facebook page 499 times with 153 comments while the other pages had lesser interaction. Hope for Nigeria has 682,285 followers.
Upon investigation, CrossCheck Nigeria, a collaboration of newsrooms in Nigeria which includes The ICIR, found the claim to be false and a deliberate hoax for the following reasons:
- At the time of the report, Atiku was meeting with businessmen in Lagos whereas the story alleges that he was sieged in his Abuja home.
- The report claimed that the ex-VP tweeted about the incident whereas a crawl on Atiku’s Twitter page over the last 24 hours has no such information.
- The Hope For Nigeria web article completely plagiarizes an April 23, 2018, Vanguard report titled, ‘Police, DSS take over the residence of Senator Dino Melaye’.
- The image used in the story first appeared online in January 2016 when the EFCC sealed Sambo Dasuki’s house.