Delta Crisis: These Videos Do Not Show Revenge Attack By Nigerian Army

Some social media accounts used old videos from fire outbreaks in Rivers State and the FCT to mislead Nigerians about events in Delta. Here are the facts.

On Thursday, March 14, the Nigerian Army deployed some soldiers for a peacekeeping mission to two warring communities in Delta state. However, 16 personnel of the security forces were gruesomely murdered during the operation, leading to public outrage.

By Sunday morning, residents of Okuama and Okoloba communities had vacated their homes, fearing possible mass arrests and extrajudicial killings by troops of the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, which also oversees the 63 brigade in Asaba. 

Despite statements from the military that there was no reprisal in the affected villages, social media users have shared various pictures and videos showing houses being burnt and claiming they were from these communities.  

Emeke Gift (@EmekaGift100) uploaded one of the videos on X (previously Twitter) on March 18, showing canoes engulfed by fire. He claimed soldiers burned them on a revenge mission in Okuama.  

“Okuama in Delta state is being razed down as of this morning by rampaging Nigerian Soldiers. Nigerian Army have declared war in that region,” he tweeted.

“What is the crime of the helpless children, women, old burnt alive by Nigerian Army? Nigeria army is discriminatory in discharging their national duties hence showcasing their disdain to people of old Eastern region.”

As of Thursday morning, the post had been viewed over 96,000 times and reposted over 700 times. 

A large fire engulfs a structure by the water with thick smoke rising, seen from across the river.
Screenshot of the tweet taken on March 21, 2024.

Another X user, @General_Somto, also shared the video the same day with a post titled “Nigerian Soldiers Still On Revenge Mission: Another Community Set Ablaze By Nigeria Army In Delta State.”

The tweet has over 133,000 views and has been reposted more than 1,400 times.

To confirm the authenticity of the post, HumAngle took a screenshot of the video and conducted a Google reverse image search. We discovered that @shugaberries first shared the video on TikTok on Jan. 29, nearly two months before the Delta incident. The caption explained that it was from a fire outbreak at Nembe waterside near Creek Road in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. 

“This is what we face every year, but people think we are enjoying,” the person filming the video said.

The fire incident, which was caused by a battery spark, was reported by various local press outfits. It killed 10 people and destroyed millions of naira worth of property, including four boats and a building.

Meanwhile, another video also surfaced with similar claims.

Osa Maxi tv (@magxi500) shared it on Twitter on March 18 and claimed it showed the “Nigerian Army committing genocide in Delta state”. 

Distressed woman crying in front of a burning background.
Screenshot of tweet by @magxi500.

While the account later deleted the post, it attracted thousands of views and was reshared over 130 times when we took a screenshot on Tuesday, March 19. 

Our checks revealed that the video was previously shared on Instagram on March 13 with the claim that it showed a single mother wailing after her shop was burnt in Abuja. 

Again, this incident which happened on the evening of Tuesday, March 12, was widely reported in the media. Like the previous video, it has nothing to do with Nigerian Army operations in Delta state. 

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Adejumo Kabir

Kabir works at HumAngle as the Editor of Southern Operations. He is interested in community development reporting, human rights, social justice, and press freedom. He was a finalist in the student category of the African Fact-checking Award in 2018, a 2019 recipient of the Diamond Awards for Media Excellence, and a 2020 recipient of the Thomson Foundation Young Journalist Award. He was also nominated in the journalism category of The Future Awards Africa in 2020. He has been selected for various fellowships, including the 2020 Civic Media Lab Criminal Justice Reporting Fellowship and 2022 International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ) 'In The Name of Religion' Fellowship.

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