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Ignore false reports of suspended Nigerian police officer Abba Kyari’s escape to Australia

A post shared on Facebook in Nigeria on 6 July 2022 claims that a suspended high-ranking police officer, Abba Kyari, has escaped to Australia after bandits attacked the prison where he was kept.

The Facebook post reads: “Hours after Kuje prison attack, Abba Kyari Spotted in Australia.”

The post includes two photos, the first of which appears to be a screengrab from a video, showing a man getting into a vehicle. The other photo is of Kyari in uniform.

On 5 July, the Kuje medium correctional centre in the Nigerian capital Abuja came under attack. During the hours-long attack some inmates escaped. 

The terrorist group Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The Nigerian Correctional Service has also released the names and photos of 69 prisoners who escaped.

Was Kyari among them, and did he really escape to Australia? We investigated.

Kyari_False

‘Kyari did not escape’

The man in the first photo is Kyari but the photo is not recent. In February the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency released the same photo. 

It used the photo as evidence against Kyari after he negotiated the release of seized cocaine from suspected drug dealers.

On 6 July, the Nigerian Correctional Service said that Kyari and other “VIPs” or high-profile prisoners held at Kuje did not escape.

Umar Abubakar, chief superintendent of corrections, said: “They are presently in custody, hale and hearty.”

Engagement bait scam

The post instructs users to click a link to view a video supposedly about Kyari’s appearance in Australia.

But the link takes you to a non-secure HTTP site with an article headlined: “Nigeria government spreading fake news: We Didn’t Designate IPOB As Terrorist Organisation, IPOB is one of the most law abiding group In  Uk– UK shuns Nigeria”.

The article is misleading because in an updated report published on Daily Trust the UK government acknowledged the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob) as a terrorist group.

And the article has nothing to do with the Kuje prison escape or Abba Kyari.

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 Meta'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.

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