Fact-check on Tinubu’s BBC Interview: Did Foreign Jihadists Control 17 LGAs and 4 States Before Buhari’s Presidency?
Claim: In an interview with BBC in London, the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu created an impression that the Buhari-led administration had inherited seventeen local governments and about four states which were under the control of foreign Jihadists in 2015.
Full-text: Part of the interview where the claim was made reads: “It is actually reduced. I will defend him (Buhari) for that. Then, seventeen local governments and about four states where we had flags of foreign jihadists in Nigeria. That is no more. That is long gone. To start chaos is easy. To bring normalcy and redecorate is more difficult. Here we are, Buhari degraded, but not eliminated ISWAP…[sic]”
Verification: Investigating the authenticity of the claim, PRNigeria noted that APC Presidential candidate, Asiwaju Tinubu might have relied on one of the several remarks President Muhammadu Buhari claiming that “all local governments taken by Boko Haram insurgents in Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states have been recovered by the Nigerian troops under his (Buhari’s) administration.”
Meanwhile, PRNigeria discovered that former President Goodluck Jonathan repossessed 14 LGAs that were controlled by Boko Haram terrorists then not ISWAP as mentioned by Tinubu in the interview.
Checks further revealed that Damboa and Gwoza Local Government Areas were reclaimed among others between August 2014 and March 2015 by the Nigerian troops.
PRNigeria further discovered that Bama was reclaimed in September 2014 while Kukawa was liberated in February 2015.
According to the then Director of Defence Information, Gen. Christ Olukolade, Monguno and Marte were also reclaimed in February 2015.
Further public information indicates that the Goodluck Jonathan admiration liberated over 25 towns and communities that were previously occupied by terrorists.
Some credible reports reveal that foreign technical experts, including mercenaries, assisted greatly in the recovery of the occupied territories in North-East during
In fact, Voice of America (VOA) in April 2015, before the inauguration of Muhammadu Buhari as the 15th President of Nigeria, reported that “Aided by regional troops and foreign mercenaries, Nigeria’s military has managed to take back nearly all of the towns and villages controlled by Boko Haram in Nigeria’s northeast over the past few months.
“But one area remains mostly under their control: Sambisa, a massive expanse of forest that spreads thousands of square kilometers”
Conclusion: According to publicly available facts, scores of LGAs which had been under the control of Boko Haram were reclaimed by the Jonathan-led administration before President Buhari’s assumption of office.
PRNigeria, therefore, concludes that the claim by the APC Presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu that foreign Jihadists had hoisted flags in two states and seventeen LGAs could be true during the Jonathan administration. The same communities were also liberated during the previous administration. The impression that Buhari government liberated the towns is FALSE.