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No, Nigerian opposition politician Omoyele Sowore hasn’t threatened to jail president Muhammadu Buhari

IN SHORT: An incendiary quote has been attributed to Omoyele Sowore of the African Action Congress, saying he wishes to jail Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari. But there is no evidence Sowore has said anything like it.

A Facebook post circulating in Nigeria quotes Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), as saying “I Will Jail Buhari When I Become President In 2023”.  

Sowore is a Nigerian human rights activist, pro-democracy campaigner, and founder of online news agency Sahara Reporters

In the 2019 presidential elections Sowore, on the AAC ticket, went up against president Muhammadu Buhari. But he secured only 33,953 votes out of 28,614,190 total votes cast, while Buhari won with 15,191,847 votes.

In August 2019 Sowore was arrested and detained for convening the #RevolutionNow protest. He was charged with treasonable felony before being released on 24 December.

The Nigerian government also charged Sowore for conspiracy to commit treason and insulting Buhari in an interview. 

The 5 September 2022 claim, quoting Sowore saying he would jail Buhari, was also repeated in other Facebook posts.

But did Sowore say this, potentially risking his own rearrest? We checked.


No evidence of quote

The original post didn’t give details of where or when Sowore was meant to have made the comment. This is suspicious and often a sign that a claim circulating on social media has been made up.

There have been no reports in the mainstream media of Sowore making such a comment, or saying anything related to wanting to send Buhari to jail

Considering Sowore’s history, such a statement would have been reported by credible news organisations.

We also checked Sowore’s verified Twitter handle and we couldn’t find anything like it.

Africa Check is seeing an increasing number of quotes and comments falsely attributed to key political figures as Nigeria’s 2023 elections approach. These false claims may distort political debate online. This fabricated quote, falsely attributed to an opposition politician, is an example of this.

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