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Video of Nigerian president criticising the BBC for their documentary about religious leader TB Joshua is fake

IN SHORT: A video circulating on social media, showing the Nigerian president criticising the BBC for a documentary about the late TB Joshua, has been digitally manipulated.

Facebook users have posted a video of Nigerian president Bola Tinubu criticising a documentary about the deceased pastor TB Joshua.

The charismatic pastor, who died in June 2021, was a televangelist and founder of the Synagogue Church of All Nations (Scoan) in Ikotun, Lagos. 

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) released a three-part documentary about the pastor in early January 2024. Interviews with members of the church include several allegations of sexual assault, torture and manipulation

The Nigerian media has reported on local reactions to the documentary. While some Nigerians have welcomed the investigation into Joshua, others question why the documentary came out when the pastor could no longer defend himself.

This is the context in which this video of Tinubu has emerged. It shows clips of Tinubu speaking, interspersed with news footage and photos of Joshua, while a stilted voice-over says: “I the president of Nigeria … reject every documentary … and evidence made by BBC against our noble prophet … Prophet TB Joshua [he] was a good man and he brought so … many foreigners into Lagos … while I was the governor … They hate him because he is from a black country.”

It can also be found on Facebook here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

But has the Nigerian president criticised the BBC over their TB Joshua documentary? We checked.


Video audio digitally manipulated

Africa Check looked at the news reports about the documentary but found no mention of criticism of the BBC by Tinubu. This is a red flag, considering the high profile of the president. Any statements made by him about the BBC would have been reported by the media.

We then uploaded the video to InVID, a video verification tool which can be used to assess the reliability of online videos. The tool breaks the video into keyframes and then uses search engines to find similar videos.

We found a Youtube video of Tinubu’s new year’s address published on broadcaster TVC News’s YouTube page on 1 January. The clips in the video circulating on social media seem to have been taken from this speech. The president is dressed the same and the background matches.

But at no point does Tinubu mention Joshua or the BBC.

There are also signs in the video that it’s untrustworthy. The audio and video are out of sync. The pronunciation of some words also sells it out as a fake, particularly “Lagos” and “Nigeria”, which are not said as Tinubu would.

False claims about Tinubu defending a deceased religious leader accused of several offences could lead to public outrage and misinformed opinions. Fact-checking helps prevent the spread of misinformation and ensures that citizens form their opinion from facts and not falsehoods.

The video clip showing Tinubu criticising the BBC for their TB Joshua documentary has been faked.

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