The post included two photographs showing armed men in military uniforms and a large armoured vehicle and said: “SAD SUNDAY IN IMO STATE! SEVERAL ‘PROTESTERS’ WERE KILLED TODAY,OVER THE REMOVAL OF ‘GOV IHEDIOHA’ THE MILITARY SHOOT THEM DEAD.”
Some Facebook users called the post fake news.
One said: “You lie a lot, people please ignore this fake news, it's a fat lie, Imo state is calm.”
Were protesters killed in Imo state on 19 January?
Contentious Imo election
An election for governor of Imo state was held in March 2019. The Peoples Democratic Party candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, was declared the winner.
The Peoples Democratic Party, or PDP, is one of the largest political parties in Nigeria and held power from 1999 to 2015. The All Progressives Congress, or APC, took over the presidency of the country from the PDP in 2015, under Muhammadu Buhari.
On 14 January 2020, the Nigerian supreme court nullified the March 2019 election, and removed Ihedioha from his position as governor of Imo state. The court declared Hope Uzodinma of the APC the new governor of the state.
There was a protest against the removal of the governor by Imo residents on 19 January 2020, but there was no record of casualties.
The PDP also protested against the decision in Abuja, the Nigerian capital where the supreme court is located. Though there were clashes with members of the APC and some injuries, there were no deaths recorded.
Photo not from Nigeria
A reverse image search showed the photo of soldiers and a tank was not from Nigeria. It was taken in Malawi, during a January 2020 protest by non-governmental organisation the Human Rights Defenders Coalition.
The original photo was stamped with a watermark that said “Ras Kansengwa”, a well-known freelance photographer in Malawi.
The photographs have also been shared on Twitter, captioned as protests in Malawi. The photographs are not from protests in Nigeria, and there is no evidence that anyone was killed during protests in Imo state. – Jennifer Ojugbeli
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