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No, notorious terrorist leader Bello Turji not recruited by Nigerian police

IN SHORT: The Nigerian police force has denied claims that terrorist leader, Bello Turji, has joined the force.

A Facebook post from January 2024 claims that a terrorist commander named Bello Turji has joined the Nigerian police force.

Turji is a notorious terrorist and bandit leader. He operates in northern Nigeria.

In August 2022, he was reported to have repented. However,  in November 2023 the Nigerian army was reported to have arrested arms dealers supplying Turji with weapons.

There are two photos of Turji in the post.

In one photo he is wearing a grey suit jacket with a green scarf tied around his head. In the second, he is wearing what appears to be a camouflage police uniform.

The post reads, in part: “This is Bello Turji from Fakai village of Zamfara state. A dangerous terrorist commander who gained notoriety across the North-west of  Nigeria for his cruelty and the killing of 100s of people. In December 2021, his camp was attacked in an air raid, many of his fighters, including his uncle and other relatives, were killed but Mr Turji escaped unhurt.”

“As you can see in the second frame, it does appear that he has now joined the Nigerian police force.”

The post asks: “Can Nigerian really fight terrorism, banditary and criminality by recruiting terrorists and criminals into the Nigeria security forces?”

The same claim has been published on other Facebook pages.

In October 2023, the media reported that the Kano state government had decided to recruit “repentant criminals” to serve as police officers. The decision caused controversy.

But is Turji a police officer now? We checked.


False claim

Olumuyiwa Adejobi, the spokesperson for the police, dismissed the claims.

“Turji has never been recruited into the police. It’s a lie. This picture is not a new one,” Adejobi tweeted on the X platform on 17 January 2024.

Yazid Abubakar, spokesperson for the Zamfara state police, told the press that Turji “may have been wearing the uniform of a murdered [police officer]”.

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