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Video does not show Nigeria’s newly commissioned Port Harcourt-Aba train in deplorable state

IN SHORT: Footage circulating on the internet claiming to show Nigeria's newly inaugurated Port-Harcourt-Aba train already in a state of disrepair is old.

On 1 May 2024, Nigeria’s transport minister Said Alkali opened a railway line linking Port Harcourt to Maiduguri via Aba. This will contribute to the efficient movement of goods and cargo through the country’s South-East and South-South regions.

The South-East comprises the states of Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, and the South-South comprises the states of Akwa-Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers. 

But a video has surfaced online with claims that it shows the newly commissioned railway line in a state of disrepair. 

The video is captioned: “Congratulations to NDI ABA, your train is here.” It has been viewed at least 573,000 times with over 9,000 reactions and about 3,700 comments. 

The same claim appeared here and here (Note: See other instances of the claim at the end of this report). 

But does this video show the Port Harcourt-Aba train already in a state of disrepair? We checked.

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The video is different from the one shared at launch

Since the video was spotted on Facebook, we did a keyword search on the phrase “Port Harcourt-Aba train". 

It brought up the various videos of the poor state of the same train that had previously been shared on Facebook in 2021.

In a further search, we found a YouTube video from 2021 in which a man talks about the deplorable state of the trains between Port Harcourt and Aba.

The newly inaugurated line has been widely covered by reputable local news outlets, as well as videos of the new train. 

The line is part of the Port Harcourt-Maiduguri railway project initiated by the administration of former president Muhammadu Buhari, who served from 2015 to 2023.

Fidet Okhiria, the director of the Nigeria Railway Corporation, told the media that the train used for the ceremony had been refurbished.

The train in the inaugural footage appears to be in good condition, not in the state of disrepair shown in the Facebook post.

The false claims appeared on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

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