By: Sam Doak
February 23 2023
Authorities have denied that this raid took place and no reputable sources have reported that it occurred.
Recently, claims have circulated concerning large amounts of banknotes purportedly found at the home of Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress' presidential candidate in the upcoming Nigerian elections. This narrative appears to have been initially spread by a Facebook page, "Igbo Times Magazine." On February 18, the page posted an image showing large bundles of banknotes. The caption reads, "President Buhari ordered EFCC to raid Tinubu's house, and 400 billion of the new money was recovered from his underground house. Investigations are still going on as to which bank manager made such money accessible to him, Tinubu holding 400 billion alone is likely holding the entire money printed for the whole Nigeria."
The post has since been shared over 1,600 times on Facebook. Posts making the same claim have subsequently been repeated on Twitter. One tweet, which is composed of text taken from the original Igbo Times Magazine post, has been retweeted more than 280 times.
Nigeria is currently experiencing severe shortages of banknotes after the government decided to redesign its 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes. While the Central Bank of Nigeria has been directed to recirculate old 200N notes, a lack of available new notes has left many Nigerians unable to withdraw cash from banks. In the context of the upcoming general elections, this shortage has led some to blame politicians, who they claim are hoarding money to buy votes.
Despite the claims made on the Igbo Times Magazine Facebook page, Logically can find no reputable source that has reported this story. Facebook's page transparency feature shows that the Igbo Times Magazine page was initially named "Dr Yusuf Datti Ahmed 'Fan Page'" when it was created in August 2022. Dr. Yusuf Datti Ahmed is the Labour Party's presidential candidate in the upcoming elections, which could indicate a bias on the part of the page's owner.
To determine the veracity of this claim, Logically used reverse image searches to find the origins of the photos purportedly showing currency found at the home of Bola Tinubu. All four pictures had unrelated origins. Two were taken from news stories published on February 7 concerning the arrest of a bank employee. The other two images seem to have been sourced from a YouTube video entitled "N287 million new Naira notes reportedly discovered hidden in a bank vault during a joint operation." Neither source mentions Bola Tinubu.
In the days since this claim has circulated, Nigerian authorities have denied that any such raid took place. In a statement published online, the EFCC clarified, "The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a report circulating in the social media, claiming that operatives of the Commission raided the home of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, standard-bearer of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the forthcoming presidential elections and recovered a humongous sum of N400 billion."
"The Commission wishes to state that no such operation was carried out by the EFCC. The public is enjoined to disregard the report as fake news."
Bola Tinubu was not raided by the EFCC as described in this post. This has been denied by authorities, and the photos provided originate from unrelated sources. This claim has therefore been marked as false.