A statement attributed to the US Secretary of State, Michael Pompeo, warning President Muhammadu Buhari’s government over the forthcoming general elections, and posted on social media was misquoted and misleading, a fact-check report by CrossCheck Nigeria, has shown.
CrossCheck Nigeria, a collaboration of newsrooms in Nigeria which includes Daily Trust, also confirms that the statement wasn’t directed at Buhari’s government but INEC and security agencies.
A Facebook page “Dailymail gist” had as at 15:46pm on February 8, 2019 posted a quote: “‘Those who interfere in the electoral process or incite violence must be held to account. INEC must resist external pressure and intimidation’ —MICHAEL POMPEO, US Secretary of State” with the following headline: EXPLOSIVE: BUHARI’S GOVERNMENT GETS SECOND STERN WARNING UNDER 24HRS FROM USA.
Similarly, a Twitter user: @NkirukaNistoran had also tweeted same quotation with the same headline as at 7:10pm of same day.
As of 11:00pm, February 11, 2019, the Facebook post had been shared 214 times and garnered 21 comments with 106 reactions. The page had 75,334 followers.
Also, the Tweet had been retweeted 189 times and garnered 53 likes with 2 comments as of 11:00pm, February 11, 2019. The Twitter user had over 16,800 followers.
CCN checks, however, revealed that the first sentence in the quotation was real and factual while the second sentence was mutilated and misquoted. The statement wasn’t directed at Buhari’s government but INEC and security agencies.
CCN investigation demonstrates that the headline was also misleading.
Using Google search, we found that the original statement that emanated from the US Secretary of State as published on the US Department of State website on February 7, 2019 and the website of US Embassy in Nigeria on February 8, 2019 has as headlines: “Upcoming Nigerian Elections” and “Statement by U.S. Secretary of State on the Upcoming Nigerian Elections”, respectively.