The convoy of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, was reported to have been attacked on October 9, 2022, during a campaign visit to Maiduguri, Borno State.
The short report started trending on social media, with many claiming that over 70 people were injured and hospitalised.
However, there was no mention of the hospitals the victims were taken to.
Verification: In a bid to validate the claim by Atiku (a former vice president) through his aide, Paul Ibe, that the hoodlums who attacked his convoy carried APC flags, Daily Trust reached out to some of the PDP presidential candidate’s media team for exclusive statements, but there was no response.
However, a resident told this paper that hoodlums attacked the campaign team of the PDP along Airport Road and at Dalori Roundabout.
He added that along Airport Road, some hoodlums hurled stones at the PDP vehicles.
“The security operatives on the convoy fired shots into the air to disperse them. I think that was what Senator Melaye posted, claiming that gunmen have attacked their convoy,” the resident said.
Further investigation revealed that the Borno police command had said the rally was held peacefully.
The command, in a statement by its spokesman, ASP Sani Kamilu Muhammed, said the Commissioner of Police in the state, Abdu Umar, was physically present to supervise the place.
“The command wishes to state authoritatively that the news is not only fake but also a false and mischievous attempt by some unguided people to incite disturbance and distract the peace of Borno people and Nigeria at large.
“The campaign/rally was conducted successfully, as tight/adequate security coverage was emplaced throughout the activities.
“The candidate and his party were accompanied to the Shehu’s palace by the police to pay a courtesy call, after which they were escorted until they departed the town,” he said.
Conclusion: Daily Trust can confirm that there was actually an attack on Atiku’s convoy as claimed by the PDP but the number of people claimed to have been injured and hospitalised is misleading.
In fact, nobody was admitted to any hospital.
The number of vehicles allegedly vandalised is also false, even though the windscreens of some vehicles were smashed, as seen by our reporters at Ramat Square in Maiduguri.
The claim by the Borno State chapter of the APC that there was no attack on the Atiku convoy is also not true.
Similarly, the claim by the Borno State Police Command that there was no security breach in Maiduguri ahead of the PDP rally was misleading because the directive by the Inspector General of Police for a thorough investigation confirmed that the PDP convoy was attacked.
In a nutshell, there was an attempt by some miscreants to disrupt the rally; and there was an attempt to cover it up, but it will be difficult to conclude who is behind it.