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FACT CHECK: Femi Adesina exaggerated, there weren’t 10 bombings a day before Buhari

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FEMI Adesina, spokesman to President Muhammadu Buhari said there were as many as 10 bombings in a single day before Buhari’s administration started in 2015.

This is not true, according to checks by The ICIR.

Adesina made the claim, on Sunday, during an interview aired on Channels Television while reacting to recent terrorist attacks, including a bomb blast in Borno state that morning.

He said, though the attacks were regrettable, the state of insecurity in the country is not as bad as the host made it seem “because we know what the situation was as of 2015 and we know what it is today”.

“Despite the reversals in security, it is still not as bad as it used to be in this country. There was a bombing or two today,” he said.

Raising his voice for emphasis, the special adviser on media and publicity added, “There was a time that there were five, six, 10 bombings in a day in this country.

“If you hear Nigerian media, if you hear social media particularly, even if you hear some international agencies, you will think that it is all over in the Northeast. It is not. The people living there will tell you that the difference between now and 2015 is the difference between heaven and hell.”

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But while Adesina accused the media of downplaying the current administration’s achievements, The ICIR found that he was guilty of exaggerating the level of insecurity prior to 2015.

Nigeria has never recorded 10 bombings a day

Even though there have been fewer fatalities since 2015 compared to the previous five years, it is not true there ever was a time when Nigeria recorded as many as 10 bomb explosions in a day.

The Armed Conflict Location and Event Data (ACLED) Project records extensive data on political violence and killings in over 100 countries and is described as the “highest quality, most widely used, real-time data and analysis source on political violence and protest around the world”.

As of January 16, the platform has recorded over 200,000 violent incidents from Africa alone since 1997, nearly 16,000 out of which took place in Nigeria.

We went through the data set and filtered out events between 2009 when the Boko Haram uprising started in Bauchi, and May 2015, when Buhari was sworn in as President. There are six different categories of attacks, so we extracted only data relating to explosions and remote violence.

We further removed all data relating to attacks perpetrated by government actors such as the police and military forces. What we were left with were 301 incidents of explosion orchestrated mostly by Boko Haram, the Islamic State (West Africa), Fulani ethnic militia, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), and unidentified armed groups.

The statistics show that between 2009 and May 29, 2015, there have been 41 days during which there were more than one bomb explosions. On 31 days, two explosions each were recorded and on five days, there were three explosions. There were four explosions recorded on three days, five explosions recorded on a day (December 25, 2011), and six explosions on another day (June 17, 2012).

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From May 30, 2015, to January 2020, on the other hand, explosions numbering over one have taken place on 23 days, and only once were they up to three—on October 22, 2017.

The data also shows that explosions that occurred between 2009 and 2015 led to the death of 2,634 people, while those that took place since 2015 (237 of them) have killed up to 2,307 people.

Conclusion

While it is true that on two different occasions, Nigeria recorded up to five and six explosions within a 24-hour period, there was no day when there were up to 10 as claimed by the president’s spokesman.

'Kunle works with The ICIR as an investigative reporter and fact-checker. You can shoot him an email via [email protected] or, if you're feeling particularly generous, follow him on Twitter @KunleBajo.

If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation

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