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Old, unrelated photos used in false claim Boko Haram took over election commission offices in northern Nigerian states

IN SHORT: With just hours to go before Nigeria’s pivotal 2023 elections, a false claim that Boko Haram has invaded the offices of the elections authority can only cause harm.

Photos of burned-out offices and armed men on a truck are circulating on Facebook with the claim that the terrorist group Boko Haram has taken over Independent National Electoral Commission (Inec) offices in the two northern Nigerian states of Kano and Kaduna

Top News: Boko Haram Has Taken Over The INEC Office In Kano And Kaduna,” the caption reads

It adds:

The INEC Office In Kaduna and Kano are under siege as Boko Haram has locked down the whole building belonging to INEC insisting that the election will not hold until Tinubu is relaxed with a more healthy Fulani man who stands a chance of winning Peter Obi.

The claim appeared online less than 30 hours before the start of Nigeria’s 2023 presidential and national assembly elections. This was while Inec was busy distributing election materials across the country.


No evidence for claim

Kano and Kaduna are two of the most populated and developed states in northern Nigeria. 

With local and international journalists deployed across the country to cover the elections, a terror attack on Inec’s offices in those states a few days before the elections would not go unreported.

Africa Check found no evidence of the “top news”, beyond the few Facebook posts. And the posts provide no details. No credible media organisation has reported any attack on Inec offices in Kano and Kaduna. 

Inec always reports attacks on its offices, and details casualties and items destroyed. The commission has no mention of any problem in Kano and Kaduna. 

Photos old and unrelated

Reverse image searches reveal that the photos used to make the claim are old – and some weren’t even snapped in Nigeria.

The photo that shows a burned office table is a stock image, uploaded on on 22 May 2019 with the description “Burned interiors and furniture in industrial or office building. Fire consequences concept.” 

The photo of an open door and three power generator sets comes from a May 2021 fire incident at Inec’s office in the southeastern state of Enugu

The photo of armed men on a truck was taken by AFP in January 2020. It shows soldiers from the army of Chad

Its caption reads: “Soldiers of the Chad Army sit on the back of a Land Cruiser at the Koundoul market, 25 km from N'Djamena, on January 3, 2020, upon their return after a months-long mission fighting Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria.”

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