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Photo wrongly used to claim jailed Nigerian politician begged president’s top aide for help

A Facebook post shows a photo of Orji Uzor Kalu, a former governor of Nigeria’s Abia state, kneeling outside a house alongside the current minister of foreign affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama.

The caption claims Kalu was kneeling to beg Abba Kyari, president Muhammadu Buhari’s chief of staff, to help him in his corruption trial just before judgement was delivered.

“Shocker. Orji Kalu assisted by Foreign affairs minister & others kneeling down before Chief of Staff Abba Kyari to assist a day before his judgement,” it reads. It was posted on 11 December 2019.

On 5 December, Kalu, who was also the chief whip of the Nigerian Senate, was convicted for N7.1 billion fraud committed while he was governor and sentenced to 12 years in prison. The trial began in 2007, shortly after Kalu ended his eight years as governor. 

But does the photo show Kalu begging Kyari to “assist” in his corruption trial? 

Photo from Christian gathering  

A Google reverse image search led us to an article on the ABN TV website, about Kalu and Onyeama taking part in a Christian event. The article, dated 24 November, includes the photo and similar ones of the event, as well as a video.

“Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu and Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Jideofor Onyeama, on Sunday, celebrated Christ the King Feast and procession at Kalu’s catholic chapel,” the article reads

“Also, Her Excellency, Mrs  Ifunanya Uzor Kalu and other worshippers were equally at Kalu’s catholic chapel for the celebration.”

In the video, neither Kyari nor any other top official in Buhari’s administration can be seen at the event.  – Allwell Okpi

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