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No evidence court ordered arrest of Nigeria’s electoral commission chair over deleted election results

IN SHORT: As a Nigerian court hears a challenge to the 25 February 2023 presidential election, there is no evidence that it has ordered the arrest of the head of the country's electoral commission.

Months after Nigeria’s 2023 general elections, the electoral body, political parties and presidential candidates continue their legal battle over the outcome of the vote. 

But a post shared on Facebook in Nigeria claims that the petition court has ordered the arrest of Mahmood Yakubu, chairperson of the Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec), for deleting election results from bimodal voter accreditation system (Bvas) machines.

Inec was responsible for organising the election.

The post, dated 23 June 2023, reads: “BREAKING!! Court ordered the arrest of INEC chairman for deleting Results on the BVAS.”

The video accompanying the post appears to show the owner of the Facebook page, who attributes the claim to “Arise TV news”. The video has been viewed over 16,000 times.

Arise News is a Nigerian-owned television channel broadcast from the UK and US.

Bvas was used for the first time in Nigeria's presidential election on 25 February.

We found the same claim on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

But did the court order the arrest of the Inec chairperson? We checked.

INECArrest_False

No evidence of Inec chairperson’s arrest

Local media reported that a witness presented by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party told the court that Inec had deliberately deleted the presidential election results from the Bvas machines.

There are no reports in the local or international media – including Arise TV – that the Inec chairperson was arrested on the orders of the court hearing the challenges to the election results. 

If this were true, it would have made headlines, just as the media reported on the central bank governor getting suspended.

Photos of Yakubu meeting with electoral commissioners and other members of the polls body were shared on Inec's official Twitter handle on 4 July, more than a week after the video was released.

This indicates that he is still carrying out his duties as the head of the electoral body.

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