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FACT CHECK: Are these photos of ‘military attack against bandits’ shared by Fani-Kayode true?

FACT CHECK: Are these photos of ‘military attack against bandits’ shared by Fani-Kayode true?
September 10
13:13 2021

On Tuesday, Femi Fani-Kayode, former minister of aviation, published a post alongside pictures on his social media platforms where he claimed that the Nigerian army had killed “bloodlusting murderous terrorists” in the northern part of the country.

The former minister shared the post twice on his verified Facebook page, which has over 600,000 followers.

The two posts have garnered over 1,000 comments and reactions each and have been shared over 150 times.

On Twitter, the same post was also shared on his page which has one million followers. The tweet has so far garnered 126 retweets, 188 comments and 365 likes.


“In Zamfara state and all over the core North today our brave fighters and gallant warriors are KICKING THE ARSE and beating the daylights out of the bloodthirsty killer bandits and bloodlusting murderous terrorists,” the post reads

“This is like music to my ears! I am proud to be a Nigerian again! Keep going boys and hit them with all you have got. Thanks for your courage and sacrifice! Al Hamdu! Praise the LORD! Glory, Hallelujah!”


Some news platforms, here and here,  also published the post using the pictures shared by the former minister.

In recent times, the northern part of the country, especially the north-west and north-east regions, have witnessed a spate of criminal activities by insurgents and bandits — a development that has worsened the security condition in the country.

There were also reports that the military had launched a series of attacks against the bandits in Zamfara after the Nigeria Communications Commission instructed all telecommunications companies to shut down their services in the state.



To verify the pictures shared by the former aviation minister, TheCable subjected the images to reverse image search on multiple search engines.



International platforms credited it to North Korea, NOT Nigeria. The earliest version seen on the internet was published by Reuters on March 10, 2020. The international platform said the image shows missiles and it was released by Korean Central News Agency.

A screenshot of Reuters photo story

The Times UK, in a post published on March 11, 2020, said the picture was published in a North Korean media platform that shows the firing of ballistic missiles over the Sea of Japan supervised by Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader. The UK Guardian, in a photo slide, also confirmed that it came from North Korea.



This picture is from Iraq, Not Nigeria

A reverse image search of the above shows the earliest version of another Reuters news report published on February 23, 2017. The picture was part of the images uploaded inside the report to portray US-backed Iraqi security forces launching rockets against militants in a bid to capture Mosul airport and other military bases.  A video showing the incident depicted in the picture was published by Washington Post.



Caption: Scene of police parade of 93 suspected kidnappers terrorising Kaduna-Abuja road in 2019

The earliest version of the above image available on the internet seen by TheCable was on May 16, 2019. Several national news platforms reported that the image was from the police parade of 93 suspected kidnappers terrorising Kaduna-Abuja highway. The news report can be seen here, here and here. A video by Daily Trust on the police parade can also be seen here.


A scene of a joint combat search and rescue exercise organised by Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

The above image was a scene of a joint combat search and rescue exercise conducted by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) along Rijana village along Kaduna-Abuja highway, which took place on January 2, 2021.  The exercise was code-named “Taimako Yazo”. The press release of the exercise and pictures were published on the website and Twitter handle of the NAF. The release was also published here.


This photo of Nigerian army fighting against Boko Haram insurgents appeared online in 2018

On June 1, 2018, a news blog published an article with the image. The article highlighted Nigeria’s ability to deploy forces anywhere in the ECOWAS bloc within days. The image was also used as a featured image for a news article published on the website of Arise TV. The news items reported how fighter jets of the air task force of Operation Lafiya Dole bombed a major hideout of the terrorists in Sambisa.


A jet belonging to NAF — image has been on the internet since 2017

Many of the websites that used this photo as a featured image credited it to operations of the NAF in the Sambiasa forest but TheCable could not independently verify if it was taken in the forest. The image can be seen here, here and here.

TheCable also reviewed the press releases shared by the Nigerian army on its Facebook page and other credible platforms in recent times. The military did not post the images shared by Fani-Kayode.

However, on September 2, the Nigerian army said troops eliminated six ISWAP terrorists during operations in the north-east. The army shared six pictures on its verified Facebook account; none of them is similar with those shared by the former aviation minister.

On Thursday, the army announced that troops have arrested high-profile Boko Haram terrorists and raided improvised explosive devices (IED) materials hub in the north-east. Four pictures were shared on the verified Facebook account of the army, but only one of them is similar with those shared by the former aviation minister.


The pictures shared by Fani-Kayode on his social media platforms that the Nigerian army had killed terrorists and bandits in the northern part of the country are false. They are old pictures of other events, some of which did not happen in Nigeria.

This story is published in partnership with Report for the World, a global service program that supports local public interest journalism.


  1. Diekramabo Ediyekio
    Diekramabo Ediyekio September 10, 21:44

    Fani kayode is another BIG PROBLEM Nigeria is having and he should be regarded as such, is he now the information minister or a presidential spokesman? Why must he always take pleasure in misleading Nigerians? See how he is dining with the people he accused of Islamizing nigeria and now singing their praises day and night. God will judge you all.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Petrosal
    Petrosal September 10, 23:13

    Nawa ohh Fani just because you want to eat from APC you started lying God will judge you

    Reply to this comment
  3. Thedon
    Thedon September 11, 14:40

    It is a pity

    Reply to this comment

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