On 29 July 2019 news website Naija Live TV reported that Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari had ordered the immediate arrest of former president Olusegun Obasanjo.
The report has been shared several times on Facebook. It reads: “The yet-to-be-confirmed arrest is said to be in connection with the recent open letter written [by] Obasanjo to the incumbent president, touching on very sensitive state issues, most especially, the wave of insecurity in the nation.”
Others called for Obasanjo’s arrest
Obasanjo was Nigeria’s military ruler from 1976 to 1979 and its president from 1999 to 2007.
On 15 July he issued a critical open letter to Buhari in which he raised concerns about the Boko Haram militant group and Nigeria’s security situation. The letter was widely debated in newspapers and on social media.
It led to diverse reactions, including a call for Obasanjo’s arrest by the advocacy group Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria.
Government denied previous claim
In June 2018 Obasanjo accused the federal government of plotting to arrest him on false charges.
Obasanjo said he had learned the government planned to “seize his passport and clamp him into detention indefinitely, in order to prevent him from further expressing angst on the pervasive mediocrity in the quality of governance, economic management and in the protection of lives and property by the government”.
The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, refuted the claim and said the government had no such plan.
No evidence any order for arrest has been given
More than a week after Naija Live TV’s report was published, no publicly available evidence can be found that Buhari ordered Obasanjo’s arrest.
There was no indication of it on any of the presidency’s communication channels and it has not been reported by any credible newspaper. – Jennifer Ojugbeli
For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false
A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?
Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.Publishers guide
Africa Check teams up with Facebook
Africa Check is a partner in Facebook’s third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.
The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.
You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.