Facts-Check: Did Prof Bolaji Akinyemi Petition President Buhari Demanding Tinubu’s Arrest over Attacks on Igbos In Lagos?
Claim: There is news trending on social media where Ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs Professor Bolaji Akinyemi allegedly wrote a letter of Petition to President Muhammad Buhari against President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for making incendiary comments and hateful speech causing tribal attacks against Igbos in Lagos and across Nigeria.
Full text: The major part of the letter trending on social media reads as follows
“I write this petition with the full realization that with the recent general elections like ours that allegedly became a tribal war against a particular tribe, there is a need to conduct a post-mortem investigation and put on trial those directly responsible and those who incited and sponsored such verbal and physical attacks, especially in Lagos State to discourage this pattern in future elections.
“Your Excellency, you once opined that the rule of law must be subjected to the supremacy of national security and interest, for which a lot of persons including myself differ from you, not with the spirit of your position but rather the letters of it.
“Sir, there is no point pretending Tinubu, MC Oluomo and his foot soldiers employed by Babajide Sanwo-Olu under the guise of Lagos State Park Management Agency have become a threat to National Security,” the letter reads in parts where it allegedly added that Asiwaju’s hate speech against the Igbos at the visit to Pa Fasoranti is enough ground to order his arrest and keep him in detention like Nnamdi Kanu.
Verification: a quick investigation to verify the claim led PRNigeria to a YouTube video featuring the former Minister with a Channels TV logo but posted on the “CELEBLIFE GISTS” YouTube Channel with about 1.9k subscribers and 93 videos.
In the video which was titled, “Akinyemi Petitions Buhari, Claiming That Tinubu Is To Blame For Attacks Against Igbos In Lagos,” the erudite scholar was featured for a few seconds where he eluded to a “letter” and “general Obasanjo.”
According to him, “with all due respect to all those involved, don’t let us spend this program on General Obasanjo…” At that point, his voice was muted and a voice-over narration with a foreign accent was superimposed. The voice narrated the entire content of the letter as has been circulating online.
PRNigeria took a frame of the Minister that was featured on the YouTube channel and ran a reverse image search but no meaningful result came up.
PRNigeria then used the keywords “Bolaji Akinyemi Channels TV” on the Google search engine and clicked on videos. There were many videos of Akinyemi on Channels TV, however, a close analysis of each revealed the particular clip which was used to feature him on the claim where he had a red tie and black suit sitting on a white couch with a Christmas Tree in the background first appeared online on January 1st, 2023 where he spoke on Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi, Labour Party’s Presidential candidate.
In the interview which appeared to have been conducted on Channels TV on New Year’s Eve, the former minister has faulted the move, claiming Obasanjo is part of those who created the country’s problems.
Further online investigation revealed no credible source where the former Minister was said to have written a letter calling for Tinubu’s arrest.
Meanwhile, PRNigeria has exclusively obtained a press release where the Minister denied authoring the letter which he termed “seditious.”
The release reads in part, “I am stating most emphatically that I did not write or authorize this letter. I sign my letter as Professor A. Bolaji Akinyemi and not in any format. I have sought legal advice on this matter and have been advised that since my parents did not patent my name when I was maned, anyone can call himself Bolaji Akinyemi.”
PRNigeria recalls that this is not the first time Professor Bolaji Akinyemi was a target of fake news. In fact, in 2020 during the EndSARS protest, he had to issue a recorded video rejoinder, to deny the fake inciteful statements attributed to him during the crisis as contained in PRNigeria’s book, 101 Fake News on EndSARS.
Conclusion: Based on available facts gathered by PR Nigeria, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi did not author the letter asking Buhari to arrest Tinubu. In fact, he has denied it and has termed it “seditious.”
PRNigeria, therefore, concludes that the trending news that Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi is calling for the arrest of Bola Ahmad Tinubu over alleged attacks on Igbos is FALSE.
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