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No evidence Niger’s military leader called Bola Tinubu’s Nigerian government ‘illegitimate’

IN SHORT: As tensions build in West Africa, ignore claims that Niger’s military leader, Abdourahmane Tchiani, said he won’t listen to Bola Tinubu’s “illegitimate” Nigerian government. They are false.

A video circulating on Facebook in Nigeria claims that the military leader of Niger, Abdourahmane Tchiani, has said he won’t listen to Bola Tinubu’s “illegitimate” government.


Tinubu is the president of Nigeria and current chair of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), a regional political and economic union of fifteen countries in West Africa. 

“‘Your Govt is Illegimitate, I Will Not Listen to You’ – Gen. Tiani, Niger Military Leader Replies Tinubu as ECOWAS Chairman,” text in the vido reads. This is accompanied by a picture of Tchiani and Tinubu. 

The claim comes on the back of a July 2023 military coup in Niger, where democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum was ousted from office and Tchiani declared head of state. 

Tchiani said the coup was a result of bad governance and Niger’s worsening security.

In line with its aim to promote integration and cooperation in West Africa, Ecowas has released a number of statements condemning the military junta and urging for “restoration of the constitutional order through peaceful means”. 

We found the same quote attributed to Tchiani here, here, here, here and here.

A reader also sent a message to Africa Check’s WhatsApp line, asking us to verify the quote. So did Tchiani say he would ignore the pleas of Tinubu and Ecowas because Nigeria’s government was illegitimate?

No evidence for quote

The Facebook posts give no details of where and when Tchiani is meant to have made such a statement. This lack of detail is an indication that the quote was fabricated. 

There were also no reports of the statement in credible local news outlets, which would have been the case if it were true.

We found no evidence that Tchiani made this statement about Tinubu or his government.


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