A media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Ms Lauretta Onochie, has been exposed for posting a fake photograph, allegedly of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Sokoto rally, which held on Monday.
Also, one Facebook user named Zara Gift Onyinye, posted the same picture and tagged it “This is how it happened in Sokoto today. Shameless, to say the least.”
The Facebook post has since garnered over 1,939 shares and 152 comments as of the time of filing this report.
The exposure was made possible by the collaborative verification of journalists under the aegis of Cross Check Nigeria initiative.
It was also reviewed by AFP, The PUNCH, The Guardian, The Niche and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting.
Onochie had claimed that the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, had distributed cash and food at his Sokoto rally held on Monday.
Using her verified Twitter handle, @Laurestar, Onochie had tweeted an image supposedly from the Sokoto campaign rally.
See the tweet:
⛔He loots billions
⛔Buys the PDP candidacy in Billions.
⛔Spends millions of dollars chasing impossible forgiveness from America
⛔Plans to scrap the poverty alleviation programmes of the @MBuhari Administration
— Lauretta Onochie (@Laurestar) December 4, 2018
While the tweet has garnered multiple retweets, we have found the image to be recycled and manipulated.
Having reversed search the image, we found that the same first appeared online in February 2017 when a Lagos-based Charity foundation released photos from an outreach.
The same image was reused to publicise a Nollywood actor’s orphanage visit, two days later also in February 2017.
It was also published by Kemi Filani News in a story entitled, ‘This is how actress Ruth Eze and her friends celebrated their Valentine’s Day (Photos)’ and dated February 21, 2017.
In essence, the photograph predated the alleged Atiku Sokoto campaign rally by at least 19 months.
We, therefore, submit that this image does not support the claim that presidential hopeful, Atiku, induced voters with cash or gift at his December 3, 2018 Sokoto campaign rally, since the photograph had been online over 19 months before Atiku’s rally.