VERDICT: False and Misleading
CLAIM: On August 26, 2022, fact-checkers at the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) spotted a claim on Facebook and several blogposts, including NairaLand, with the caption: “Pilot who supplies weapon to bandits has been arrested in Niger State, North Central Nigeria. The claim added that the Indigenous people of Niger state arrested Juan Remy, a helicopter pilot, who supplies weapons to bandits. Another claim to the image alleged that the former head of state, General Abubakar Abudlsalami own the bandits’ helicopter.
FACT: Nigeria is facing one of her worse security challenges in history, with Boko Haram insurgency in the Northeast, Banditry in the Northwest and Central and other militia groups in the South of the country. This is not the first time, claim of other National’s involvement in supplying weapons to Nigeria will trend online.
CDD fact-checkers investigated the claim, using google reverse image search, and TinEye to verify the origin of the images of the supposed arrest. Evidence from the findings reveal the image first appeared online between May 10 and 11, 2021, where the Central African army arrested a man of French nationality, aged around fifty, with weapons and other artillery in Bangui the capital of Chad. Juan Remy Quignolot’s was arrested in May 2021 in the Central African Republic after an arms stockpile was found in his house.
When contacted, the State Commissioner of Police, (CP) Monday Bala Kurya, through the Police Public Relation Officer DSP Wasiu A Abiodun, in a press release confirmed that no foreign nationale distributing weapons to Bandits was arrested in Niger State. He described the report as a piece of Fake News that such incidents never occurred in the state.
He called on members of the public to disregard such report as it aims at crating unnecessary chaos in the public domain.
CONCLUSION: CDD fact-checkers can confirm the claim the incidence happened in Central African Republic (CAR), where a French Nationale was arrested over allegations of stockpiling weapons in his house. But the claim that the French Nationale was arrested by locals for supplying weapons to Bandits in Niger State, North Central of Nigeria, is False
CDD is urging members of the public verify claims online before sharing same; especially news report from bloggers, who are in the habit of using sensational headlines to draw traffic to their blogs.