Image of Nigeria’s top corruption buster in prison is a hoax

A photo circulating on Facebook in Nigeria claims to show Ibrahim Magu, the embattled acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), behind bars. This is false; while Magu has been charged with alleged graft and suspended, the image being shared is doctored. The original is a stock photograph.

The picture posted on July 10, 2020, by Nigerian singer and activist Charlyboy has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook.

It claims to show anti-graft czar Magu in a jail cell -- a fate, the post implies, that also awaits Diezani Alison-Madueke, former minister of petroleum resources, who has been charged with fraud and money laundering.

A screenshot taken on July 20, 2020 showing the doctored image of Magu behind bars

The picture was also shared on Twitter, with the caption: “Guys meet Ibrahim Magu... Imagine the head of an Anti-corruption agency behind bars and grilled for money laundering and fraud”. The same caption has been used to share the image here on Facebook

Other archived Facebook posts carrying the claim can be seen here, here, here and here.


On July 6, 2020, Nigeria media reported that secret police had arrested Magu. In response, the EFCC released a statement on the same day, saying that Magu had not been detained but only invited for questioning.

Magu stands accused of laundering N500 billion ($1.3 billion) and allegedly buying property in the United Arab Emirates, according to local media. He has denied all allegations.

The questioning came after Nigeria's attorney general in June sent a memo to President Muhammadu Buhari detailing a raft of allegations against Magu that were leaked to the press, as AFP reported here.

Buhari confirmed the suspension of Magu as acting chairman on July 10, 2020, as AFP reported here. Four days later, Magu was released on bail -- without bail conditions

Justice ministry spokesman Umar Gwandu said the suspension was “in order to allow for unhindered inquiry by the presidential investigation panel”.

Manipulated image

Magu is not the man seen in the photo. AFP Fact Check ran multiple reverse image searches, which led to the original picture on stock images site, Yayimages. The model’s head has been digitally replaced with Magu’s.

A screenshot taken on July 20, 2020, showing the original image

The EFCC was set up to investigate financial crimes in Nigeria, such as internet fraud, money laundering, and embezzlement of public funds. It convicted three former state governors in Nigeria in 2019 alone.

Magu was appointed the acting EFCC chairman in November 2015 -- and has remained in an acting capacity for almost five years because the Nigerian senate refuses to confirm his appointment.

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