Video of army spokesman accusing Nigerian governor of attempted bribery from 2019, not 2023

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A video is circulating on social media in Nigeria with claims that it shows the Nigerian army accusing Nyesom Wike, the governor of Rivers state in the country’s south, of trying to bribe military personnel, implying that this took place amid the 2023 general elections. But the claim is misleading: the video is unrelated to the recent elections. It was filmed in 2019 and shows the spokesman for the army’s 6th Division accusing Wike of attempted bribery during that year’s election in Rivers state.

“Nigerian army says Wike trying to bribe them,” reads a Facebook post published on March 5, 2023, and which has since been shared more than 11,000 times.

A screenshot showing the misleading post, taken on March 3, 2023

The clip was published by an account that regularly shares content in support of Labour Party’s presidential candidate Peter Obi. AFP Fact Check has previously fact-checked this account for posting misinformation about the elections.

The first part of the eight-minute-long video shows a man in military uniform accusing Wike of trying to sway the electoral process.

“Equally of great concern is the daring attempt by the governor of Rivers state His Excellency Barrister Nyesom Ezenwo Wike to compromise security agencies, particularly those of the Nigerian army, with heavy financial inducements to help him in his illegitimate act of wanting a free and fair electoral process to his favour...” the man says.

The same claim also appeared on Twitter here and here.

Wike is a member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). However, he fell out with the party’s leadership after its presidential primary, which saw him come second to Atiku Abubakar.

He then backed Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 general elections, who was declared the winner on March 1, 2023.

Reports of voter intimidation and delays in uploading results from various voting centres into the backend portal of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) left many concerned. INEC said the delays were due to technical hitches.

But the claim that the video shows the army recently accusing Wike of attempted bribery is misleading.

Old video from 2019

Using the InVID video verification tool, AFP Fact Check found the original footage published by BBC News Pidgin in February 2019.

This report shows that the man in uniform is Colonel Aminu Iliyasu, a spokesman for the Nigerian army’s 6th Division. In the footage, he accuses Wike of attempting to bribe soldiers in Rivers state during the 2019 elections.

At the time, Wike denied the allegations. He described the army’s statement as a plot to destabilize the state ahead of the governorship election held on March 9, 2019, in which he ended up winning a second term as governor.

Local media recently reported the army dismissing the claim, confirming that the video was from 2019 and unrelated to the 2023 general elections.

Nigeria elections 2023