Post falsely claims photos show cash seized from Nigerian presidential candidate

Copyright © AFP 2017-2023. All rights reserved.

Ahead of Nigeria’s presidential ballot on February 25, images have appeared on social media with claims that they show trucks filled with cash belonging to the ruling party's candidate Bola Tinubu. The post, shared more than 14,000 times, alleges authorities seized the money while it was being transported to a bank in Lagos. But this is false: the photos are from old and unrelated events.

The post was published on Facebook on January 28, 2023.

Screenshot showing the false post, taken on January 31, 2023

Written in Hausa, the post translates to: “Breaking news: Eight trucks carrying money from Tinubu's house have been seized by authorities. Reports from Lagos say the vehicles carrying old Naira notes were waylaid after leaving Tinubu's Lagos house on their way to a bank.”

Nigerians head to the polls on February 25, 2023, to elect their next president.

According to opinion polls, the frontrunners in the presidential race are Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP).

Disinformation targeting the contenders has ramped up in the lead-up to the vote.

But the photos do not show money seized from Tinubu.

Old, unrelated photos

By conducting reverse image searches, AFP Fact Check found that none of the pictures are from Lagos, nor are they recent.

The picture of stacks of cash shows money seized from politician Ismailia Yusuf Atumeyi in September 2022 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-graft agency. The image was posted on its official Twitter account.

Atumeyi, who is the candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP) for Kogi state’s assembly, was arrested in Abuja over alleged involvement in cyber fraud.

We tracked the second image to articles from 2020 (here and here). It shows one of the trucks used by tycoon Tony Elumelu to donate rice to Nigerians during the Covid-19 lockdown period.

"Tony donated bags of rice in Delta state in April 2020 to help the people cope with the Covid-19 lockdown that had just been enforced," The Tony Elumelu Foundation told AFP Fact Check.“

The third and final photo, which shows several trucks parked on a roadside, has been online since at least 2014. It was published in a Kenyan blog article about trade in Africa.

The article does not indicate when and where the photo was taken. However, the number plate on the front truck is Kenyan.

Moreover, there have been no media reports about cash seized from Tinubu.

You can read AFP Fact Check's Nigeria election debunks here.

Nigeria elections 2023