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No, video of suspect arrested in Liberian drug sweep doesn’t show ‘Nigerian businessman based in South Africa’

IN SHORT: A video has been shared on social media, with the claim it shows a Nigerian citizen arrested in South Africa for selling drugs. However, we found that the man was arrested in Liberia, not South Africa, by the Liberian anti-drug agency.

“A Nigerian businessman based in South Africa was arrested for allegedly dealing in hard drugs,” reads the common caption of a video circulating on social media since 24 February 2024.

The 10-minute video shows an agitated man, who appears to be handcuffed behind his back, answering questions about drugs and money from people behind the camera.

Anti-migrant sentiment in South Africa often maintains the stereotype of Nigerians as drug dealers.

But does the video really show a Nigerian based in South Africa after his arrest for drug-dealing? We checked.


Drug enforcement agency arrests nine ‘Liberian-based Nigerian nationals’

Small and almost illegible text at the top of the video reads: “A well-known spare part dealer (Nigerian National) that goes by the name ‘JAPAN’ from Old Clara Town Bushrod Island was allegedly caught with huge amounts of illicit drugs in his compound in the Sayon Town Community earlier today, Feb 21 2024.”

The place names in the text – Clara Town, Sayon Town and Bushrod Island – all indicate that the video was shot in the West African country of Liberia, not South Africa.

Clara Town and Sayon Town are neighbourhoods on Bushrod Island, north of Liberia’s capital of Monrovia on the Atlantic Ocean coast. 

Bushrod Island includes the Freeport of Monrovia, Liberia’s largest seaport.

None of these place names can be found in South Africa.

The video has the watermark of Eben TV Live, a community TV station based in Bushrod Island’s Logan Town.

The original video was posted on the Eben TV Live Facebook page on 22 February. Its description gives more details on the incident.

These details led us to a 22 February report by the New Dawn, a Liberian news website, headlined LDEA nabs 9 Nigerian drug suspects.

The report begins: “The Liberia Drugs Enforcement Agency (LDEA) has arrested nine Liberian-based Nigerian nationals and two Liberians suspected of running a drug cartel in Sayon Town on Bushrod Island.”

According to the report, the arrests were the result of an LDEA sweep in Sayon Town the day before. 

The man in the video can be seen in two photos in the New Dawn’s report. He’s one of the nine identified as “Liberian-based Nigerian nationals”.

The video was shot in Liberia, not South Africa. And the man in the video is based in Liberia, not South Africa.

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