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Factcheck: No Evidence Buhari Visited Kankara Days After Students’ Kidnapping

Claim: Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, visited Kankara, a town in Katsina State where hundreds of secondary school students were kidnapped, two days after the incident.  

Verdict: There is no evidence backing this claim nor can it be traced to any credible media or government source.

Full text

On Sunday evening, one Akinsola Akinboye, shared a tweet where he claimed that Muhammadu Buhari had just visited Kankara to offer his condolences over the abduction of students that took place in the town between Friday and Saturday.

“PMB has just arrived in Kankara town to commiserate with the parents, school management, and the entire people of Kankara over the abduction of over 333 students of GSSS Kankara by Gunmen,” he wrote. “Flashback to Chibok, the then govt refused to even admit. PMB must do more on Security.”

PMB is an acronym famously used to refer to President Muhammadu Buhari since his first election into office in 2015. Before then, he was often called GMB (General Muhammadu Buhari), acknowledging his military background.

Akinboye (@cbngov_akin1), a prominent Twitter user, has over 81,400 followers. He describes himself as a social media strategist and member of the Presidential Campaign Team of the All Progressives Congress.

In the tweet, he attached two pictures. On the left is a Nigerian Air Force helicopter parked in front of a crowd of people. On the left is a screenshot of a news report by Associated Press where it noted that the government under former President Goodluck Jonathan “refused international help to search for more than 300 girls abducted” in Chibok.

Akinboye’s tweet was liked by 254 Twitter users and shared over 120 times as of 7 am on Monday.

Responses to the post showed that it was believed by many people who engaged with it. 

“After public outcry, shame and more shame for comparing one bad situation with another. We shouldn’t play politics with security please, people just want to be safe,” wrote Ogele Chibuzor Toju.

“Good, and we hope to see some actions and change possibly tonight,” replied another user, Ahmad M. Salihu.

A similar tweet was shared on Sunday by another Twitter account, Valiant Samson Idowu-Alaba (@ValiantNig), who also attached the picture of the NAF chopper.

“BOOM: Immediately Buhari lands in Kankara, a Katsina town where schoolchildren had gone missing since Friday night, the news is that all the missing children have now been rescued by the joint military and Police efforts and the Defence Minister has said all will return home tonight,” Idowu-Alaba wrote in the caption.

He added: “That’s my kind of President, not one who first denied it in 2014 before rebuffing international rescue assistance!” 

At about 11 pm on Friday, armed men had raided the Government Science Secondary School in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, and abducted hundreds of students. Over 300 schoolkids remain unaccounted for as of Sunday, according to the state governor, Aminu Masari.

There have been calls for Buhari to visit the location of the abduction to personally sympathise with and reassure the victims’ parents, especially because the president is in his hometown, Daura, in the same state on a week-long private visit.

Verification

Reverse image searches conducted by HumAngle revealed that the picture of the NAF helicopter shared by Akinboye had not appeared on the Internet before Sunday and was likely shot recently.

There is nonetheless no indication Buhari was conveyed in the chopper or that the picture was taken in Kankara.

No local or international media organisation has reported that Buhari visited the community since the abduction took place. 

Rather, a Federal Government delegation led by National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, was in the town on Sunday morning. 

From pictures of their arrival shared by Television Continental (TVC), the delegates were conveyed in one of the presidential jets.

According to Punch Newspaper, however, the delegation of service chiefs from Abuja was led by Minister of Defence, Salihi Magashi.

Other officials in the group were the Chief of Defence Staff, Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Air Staff, Sadique Abubakar; and Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ahmed Abubakar.

Similarly, there is no information confirming Buhari’s visit to the town from any presidential aide or government official as at 8 am on Monday, December 14, more than 12 hours after the claim was made.

Accounts checked by HumAngle for updates included those of the president, statehouse, as well as presidential spokespersons Garba Shehu, Femi Adesina, Bashir Ahmad, Tolu Ogunlesi, and Lauretta Onochie

Conclusion

There is no evidence or information from a reliable source substantiating the claim that Buhari visited the Katsina community on Sunday.

It is also not true that all the school kids have been rescued. Parents of the victims, who still camped at the secondary school on Sunday, were anxious for their children to be returned to them.


The researcher produced this fact-check per the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship partnership with HumAngle to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and enhance media literacy in the country.


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Kunle Adebajo

'Kunle is Investigations Editor and Head of Internal Factcheck at HumAngle. He tweets and monitors trends @KunleAdebajo.

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