On Monday, April 12, 2021, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a tweet made by a Twitter user @UchePOkoye with a picture of a young man, Salim Sani Zakariyya, and some inscription that read “Wanted, Boko Haram Suspect”.
Okoye’s tweet followed a viral story published by NewsWireNGR that Nigeria’s Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, has been placed on the United States of America’s terror watch list for alleged ties with Boko Haram founder, late Mohammed Yusuf.
An investigation conducted by CDD shows that Salim Sani Zakariyya is not a Boko Haram suspect. A check through the list of Boko Haram suspects released by the Nigerian Military in the past shows that the young man was not listed as a suspected terrorist as claimed by Okoye in his tweet.
CDD’s investigation found that the Twitter user (@UchePOkoye) used Zakariyya’s profile picture from his Twitter handle to tag him as “Wanted Boko Haram Suspect” after Salim reacted to his tweet.
The Twitter user, Anambra 1st son (@UchePOkoye) had earlier tweeted: “as the Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency, Isa Pantami has access to all of our data. A terrorist with our data is very dangerous and unacceptable!”
Salim Sani Zakariyya (@SalimbinSani) reacted to the tweet by drawing the attention of Okoye against peddling fake news and a few minutes later his profile picture was taken and tagged as “Wanted Boko Haram Suspect”
When CDD contacted him, Salim Sani Zakariyya said he was surprised at the reaction of the Twitter user.
He said: “I am surprised how I saw my picture in a tweet and I was portrayed as a Boko Haram suspect, this is seriously highly unfair if he disagrees with my suggestion on why he should not spread fake news so be it but to tag me as a Boko Haram suspect is unfair and unacceptable”
“I am graduate of Quantity Survey from Kano state Polytechnic and now work as a developer as a campaigner against fake news”
“I only quoted his tweet and cautioned him against sharing fake news and in return I got my picture tagged as “wanted Boko Haram Suspect”.
The claim that Salim Sani Zakariyya has been declared “Wanted Boko Haram Suspect” by any security institution in the country is false.
Zakariyya’s picture was seen in a tweet identifying him as a wanted Boko Haram suspect is fake.
The phrase “Wanted Boko Haram Suspect” was added to the picture by a Twitter user @UchePOkoye following Zakariyya’s reaction to his tweet about sharing fake news on Isa Ali Pantami’s terror allegation.
The CDD urges members of the public to read beyond headlines before sharing any news report, especially on social media.
You can forward suspicious messages for verification via +2349062910568 or contact us on Twitter @CDDWestAfrica
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