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Nigeria hasn’t declared support for Iran and Palestine

IN SHORT: After Iranian officials were killed in an Israeli attack on the Syrian capital, Iran launched a retaliatory attack. But online “evidence” of Nigeria backing Iran does not add up.

Note: This report includes details about developing news stories in the Middle East. Information was, as far as possible, correct at the time of publication but may change rapidly.

In April 2024, a number of similarly worded posts appeared on Facebook in Nigeria, claiming that the country had declared its support for Iran and Palestine. 

Some can be seen here, here and here, with most including a photo of former Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari shaking hands with ex-Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

This comes after the media reported that Iran launched a major drone and missile attack on Israel in retaliation for an alleged Israeli attack that killed Iranian officials in Damascus, Syria.

Israel and Palestine have been in violent conflict for decades. The current crisis began after Palestinian militant group Hamas attacked Israel from Gaza on 7 October 2023. Israel has subsequently waged war against Gaza and by 26 April, Israel had killed 34,356 Palestinians in Gaza and internally displaced 1.7 million more.

The posts read: “In this world war III, Nigeria Stand With Iran/Palestine. The giant of Africa is with the oppressed💯.”

Iran, Palestine, Israel and Syria are countries in the Middle East.

But has Nigeria declared its support for Iran and Palestine? We checked.

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Nigeria calls for diplomatic settlement

On 14 April, the Nigerian foreign ministry issued a statement urging restraint and a diplomatic solution between Iran and Israel. 

It reads: “In this critical period, it behoves the two countries to reflect on the universal commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts, for the advancement of global peace and security.”

The ministry has not declared its support for any of the parties involved as claimed. 

A Google reverse image search of one of the two most commonly used photos in the posts shows it was taken at a forum of gas exporting countries in Tehran, Iran, in 2015. The other photo has been online since at least 2021, before the conflict.

Nigeria’s president Bola Tinubu has supported a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict.

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