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No, Nigeria’s financial crimes agency didn't release a list of 58 ex-governors accused of looting over N2 trillion in public funds

IN SHORT: Some social media posts claim that the EFCC has released a list of former state governors accused of embezzling public funds in Nigeria. But the anti-graft agency says it hasn't released any such list. 

Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has published a list of 58 former governors accused of embezzling N2.187 trillion of public funds, according to social media posts. 

The commission is responsible for fighting financial crime in the country.

One Facebook post, dated 4 May 2024, reads: “EFCC Released Names of Former Governors who looted and embezzlement State Funds. Peter Obi’s name missing as EFCC release list of 58 former Governors responsible for misappropriation, embezzlement or laundering of approx. ₦2.187 trillion.”

The post includes the list of “58 ex-governors who are currently or have previously faced investigations by EFCC, with alleged amounts in question”.

Peter Obi was the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in Nigeria’s 2023 general election. He came third, but his supporters insist he won the disputed election.

One of the main points of Obi's campaign was his claim that he had been prudent with public funds and had never been invited by the EFCC after serving eight years as governor of Anambra state in south-east Nigeria.

The absence of Obi’s name from the circulating list of state governors who have faced charges by the EFCC seems to confirm his claim. 

The claim about the EFCC list can also be found on Facebook here, here and here. (Note: See more instances listed at the end of this report.)

But did the EFCC release this? We checked.

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EFCC disowns the list 

On 5 May 2024, the commission’s head of media and publicity Dele Oyewale released a press statement titled: “List of Ex-Govs Under Investigation for Alleged Corruption Not From EFCC.”  

In the statement, Oyewake said the EFCC felt obliged to dissociate itself from “a phantom report circulating in sections of the media claiming it has released a full list of ex-governors being investigated for alleged corruption”.

“The report headlined: ‘EFCC Releases Full List of 58 Ex-Governors that Embezzled N2.187 Trillion’, in one of the news outlets, is false and mischievous as the Commission neither issued the said list nor entertained discussions on investigation of ex-governors with any news medium. 

“This invariably means that the so-called list is a disingenuous fabrication designed to achieve motives known only to the authors. The public is enjoined to ignore the report as it is false and misleading,” the statement reads.

Similar posts on the fake list can be found on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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