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Fact-Check: No Evidence That A Soldier Who Shot Senior Officer Was a Member of Boko Haram

A Facebook page with the name Datti Assalafy claims that a soldier, Uzonna Maduabuchi, who shot his senior officer in Maiduguri, has connection with Boko Haram.

The page added that Nigerian Army had once put Uzonna Maduabuchi in a wanted list after he was captured by Boko Haram and made to join the terrorists group.

A fact-check has revealed that the claim is untrue. Uzonna Maduabuchi had never appeared in the military’s wanted list. He was also never caught by Boko Haram terrorists while in operation.

Full Text

An influential Facebook page with name Datti Assalafy, known for posting information about insurgency in northeastern Nigeria, recently posted that Uzonna Maduabuchi is an ex-member of Boko Haram who was once declared wanted by the Nigerian Army.

The post reads partly, “An open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari Maigaskiya. I want him to read this letter himself. Anybody close to the president should please forward this message to him.

“On Wednesday July 29, 2020, at around 10:00am a Nigerian soldier with name Uzoona Maduabuchi from 202 Battalion of the 21st Armored Bridget in Bama, took his rifle and shot dead his commander Lieutenant Babakaka Shehu Ngori.

“The late Lt. Babakaka is a Muslim and a native of Borno State who played a key role in the fight against Boko Haram. He is the true hero who prevented Boko Haram from entering Bama at the current situation.

Datti Assalafy claimed that “what happened was, Uzoona Maduabuchi joined the military a few years ago.

“There was a time when Boko Haram launched an attack on a military base, killing and arresting people. Boko Haram said they would not kill him. He should convert to Islam and help them in a war.

“At the time, Nigerian Army closed his payroll account after confirming that he is a full-fledged member of Boko Haram and declared him wanted.” (See the second picture at number 47)

“Then one day Uzoona managed to leave Boko Haram after three years of working with them and he was accepted and sent back to work with Nigerian Army.

“The mission that brought him back to Boko Haram is to kill a great commander who prevented Boko Haram from prospering and winning Bama.

“This is a hidden story and I know that President Buhari’s associates would not allow him to know this story since the soldier is said to be mentally ill because he killed a Muslim. But if it was otherwise, Fani Kayode would have insult Islam and Muslims.

Maduabuchi was never declared wanted

In a statement from the Nigerian Army, Uzoona Maduabuchi was identified as a 16NA regular intake which, according to Murtala Abdullahi, a military expert, means he joined the Army in 2016.

However, the poster uploaded by Datti Asslafy with names and pictures of Boko Haram commanders was released in 2015 when Nigerian Army declared them wanted, about a year before Maduabuchi was recruited by the Army.

This falsifies the claim that he joined the Nigerian Army and was later abducted by Boko Haram during a war, got declared wanted,  escaped from Boko Haram and came back to the army.

Why did he kill his officer?

The Nigerian Army is yet to finish investigations on why Maduabuchi kIlled his officer.

However, preliminary investigations indicate that the soldier might be depressed due to his unpaid allowances.

The Nation learnt that he “was embittered because his allowances were withheld and account blocked”

However, the newspaper added that “it was not clear whether the deceased officer had anything to do with his plights”.

Conclusion

The claim that Uzoona Maduabuchi who killed his officer in Bama is an ex-member of Boko Haram who was once declared wanted for working with Boko Haram for three years is misleading.

There is no evidence that the soldier killed his officer due to an assignment given to him by Boko Haram.

Although investigation is still in progress, preliminary reports revealed that Maduabuchi was angry and depressed, owing to his unpaid allowance and the blockage of his account.

This fact-check is produced per HumAngle partnership with the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in Nigeria

No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means without proper attribution to HumAngle, generally including the author's name, a link to the publication and a line of acknowledgement.

Aliyu Dahiru

Aliyu Dahiru Aliyu is a researcher with expertise in areas such as fact-checking and insecurity. He was a research programs officer at the CDD West Africa and Tech. Officer at CITAD. He has contributed to CNN, BBC, etc.

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