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General News of Sunday, 21 August 2022

Source: www.premiumtimesng.com

Unrelated pictures used falsely to depict Peter Obi’s demolition of mosque

Peter Obi Peter Obi

A user on Twitter, Qudus Akanbi Eleyi (@Qdpaper2) claims that Peter Obi demolished a mosque in Anambra and pursued Hausa, Fulani and other northerners from the state while he was still governor. A collection of pictures that depict what appears to be a demolished mosque and of several persons in a desolate state was used to accompany the post with the caption:

“Northerners will never forget Peter Obi for demolishing their mosque in Anambra. When he was a governor, Hausa, Fulani and Northerners can forgive Peter Obi for pursuing them out of Anambra, but I’m not sure if they can forgive him for demolishing their mosque. They will never 4give.”

Peter Obi is the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LB) for the 2023 Nigerian presidential election. Since his emergence as the party’s candidate, the former two-term governor of Anambra has garnered so much attention on social media, especially on Twitter, arousing both support and criticism from diverse users.

Anambra is a state in the southeastern part of Nigeria, a region that is largely populated by the Igbo-speaking tribe who are mainly Christians. The Fulani and Hausa tribes are mostly Muslims, and they are largely the dominant population in the northern parts of Nigeria.

Like most social media claims, painted along religious and tribal lines, the tweet attracted massive traction and almost two thousand interactions within a week of its appearance.

One user, Baba (@antibila) has since believed the claims, adding that Peter Obi deported northerners from the southeast and destroyed their place of worship.

“Even in some Northern states, Okada has been banned for security reasons. As for Peter Obi, I learnt (he) went further than deporting Northerners going about their genuine businesses out of Iboland (Southeastern Nigeria), but also destroyed their place of worship against laws of the Land,” the user wrote. Such claims are capable of inciting violence and can even motivate both tribal and religious tensions.

Verification

A Google reverse image search of the first image, a collage of Peter Obi and the alleged demolished mosque,  traced the original image of the mosque to a news report: “Cash shortage hampers rebuilding of mosques destroyed by Israel.”

The report revealed the mosque to be the Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz mosque in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza Strip, that was destroyed during the Israel-Palestine tension that erupted on 4 January 2009.

Multiple reports by different media outlets captured the incident and detailed how the bombings flattened the Omar Ibn Abdul Aziz mosque in Beit Hanoun and damaged many surrounding homes.

Apparently, the image has also been falsely used to depict an alleged banning of Islam and the destruction of mosques in Angola.

A Google reverse search of the second image  traced it to a report on sanction.org, a social action website. The social action team members captured the original image when they visited the Obidianso Waterside community in Port Harcourt after the Rivers State government demolished it in 2018.

The image was not from Anambra State as alleged and has nothing to do with the northerners or the Hausa-Fulani Muslims residing in Anambra State.

The third image is traced to a news report by Vanguard when officers of Abuja Police Command arrested 98 scavengers, popularly known as ‘Baban Bola’ over stealing in Abuja. The image is neither taken in Anambra nor does it have anything to do with Hausa-Fulani Muslims living in Anambra State. This is equally false.

The fourth image, a collage of pictures, was traced to the website of the Muslim News Nigeria. The pictures were used to depict an alleged demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt by Governor Nysom Wike in 2019.

Although Governor Wike has distanced himself from claims that he ordered the demolition of a mosque in Port Harcourt, he has, however, explained that some persons started erecting illegal foundations on the disputed land, even though they had no approval to embark on any construction work.

An extensive investigation by the PREMIUM TIMES also revealed that the Rivers State Government did not demolish any completed building being used as a mosque. However, an uncompleted structure, (the same one depicted in the alleged picture) which was still at the foundation stage, was demolished by the government.

Unlike Governor Wike’s popular controversy over the demolition of a mosque in Rivers State, there is no single report by any reliable media outlet that suggests Peter Obi’s demolition of a mosque in Anambra State while he was still the governor.

While the claim may be debatable, all the images used are pulled from different contexts to support the bogus narrative. This claim is false.

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